In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has just handed down one of the most consequential civil rights decisions in its history.
Same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry, and states cannot take that right away from them, says the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling handed down moments ago. The decision requires all 50 states and all U.S. territories to recognize all legally-performed marriages from all jurisdictions, and to extend marriage to same-sex couples. In short, the court’s decision requires all states to treat marriages of same-sex couples exactly as they treat marriages of different-sex couples.
The United States now becomes one of about 21 countries that have extended marriage to same-sex couples.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. The Chief Justice, John Roberts, along with Justices Alito, Thomas, and Scalia dissented.Â
The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was filed by Jim Obergefell, a man whose legally-married husband died. Obergelfell sued to have his name placed on his husband’s death certificate.
The Court heard four same-sex marriage cases in April, all from the 6th Circuit Court of appeals, the only appellateÂ court that ruled states may practice marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. That decision was in Michigan’s DeBoer v. Snyder, a case filed by two women, both pediatric emergency room nurses, who have adopted four special needs children and wanted to marry so they could jointly adopt each child.Â
On April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases from each of the four states that comprise the 6th Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. It had challenged plaintiffs and defendantsÂ to answer two questions:
Question 1:Â Must states allow same-sex couples to marry under the United States Constitution?Â
Question 2:Â Must states recognize the legal marriages entered by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions?
The Court this morning answered yes to both.
Today’s historic ruling may well be one of the most important civil rights rulings since 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, in which the Supreme Court struck down banning interracialÂ marriage, and paved the way for today’s decision by stating marriage is a civil right.
Along the way, in 2003, the Supreme Court inÂ Lawrence v. Texas ruled all bans on sodomy were unconstitutional and that criminalizing same-sex relationships is a violation of privacy rights.
In 2013’s U.S. v. Windsor, the Court struck down Section 3 ofÂ DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, in a historic case brought by Edie Windsor of New York. Windsor had married her partner of four decades, Thea Spyer, in Canada shortly before Spyer’s death. The IRS demanded she pay $363,000 in inheritance taxes that she would not have had to incur had she been married to a man.
Since the DOMA decision two years ago, state marriage bans have fallen at historic speed, and the support for same-sex marriage has escalated faster than any other social issue. Today, polls find that up to 60 percent of Americans support the right of same-sex couples to marry, and the majority of Americans also wanted the Supreme Court to decide in favor of a national, 50-state right to marry.
Before today’s ruling, same-sex marriage was legal inÂ 37 states and one U.S. territory. Of the remaining 13 states, bans remained in place in the four states of the 6th Circuit. In the remaining nine states, rulings or decisionsÂ were placed on hold in deference to the impending Supreme court ruling.
There willÂ assuredly be a backlash, as the religious right has promised. The Southern Baptist Convention, which boasts 16 million members, has vowed to defy the ruling. At least two current Republican presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, have signed a pledge to defy today’s ruling. Every Republican likely and declared GOP presidential candidate is formally opposed to same-sex marriage. Some high-ranking state officials, like Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, have suggested they will not follow today’s ruling.
While today’s historic ruling advances civil right for LGBT Americans, this is far from the completion of the fight for equality. As more and more same-sex couples marry, they can still be fired in the majority of states for being gay. Just yesterday President Barack Obama again called on Congress to pass ENDA to protect LGBT employees.
This is a breaking news and developing story and has been updated.
Stay withÂ The New Civil Rights Movement all day for reports, reactions, and other important marriage news.
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Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately
Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”
McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.
“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”
Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.
“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”
“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.
“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order
Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.
Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.
“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”
Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.
Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”
“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”
And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.
Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.
After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”
“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”
‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster
After U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven of fellow far-right House Republicans voted to oust their own Speaker of the House for supporting a bipartisan vote to keep the federal government of the United States from a shutdown, a powerful Senate Republican and Democrat are both strongly denouncing the work of the few GOP extremists who toppled Kevin McCarthy.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a hard-core Republican of Texas and a former member of the Senate Republican leadership team, blasted the eight House Republicans for their “terrorist attack,” and warned it will happen again.
“We saw a similar thing happen to Boehner, Ryan, and now McCarthy. I’m sure the next speaker is going to be subjected to the same terrorist attacks,” Senator Cornyn said, according to HuffPost’s Igor Bobic.
Responding to a Texas radio talk show host from his official social media account, Sen. Cornyn added, “A handful [of] House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the ouster “a deeply embarrassing moment for America. A consequence of a Republican Party that has become so radicalized that it can no longer function as an organized political party.”
“Nobody should be rooting for this circus,” added Sen. Murphy in video recorded as he watched the House voting to remove McCarthy as Speaker. He warned that the ouster of McCarthy will now take the House away from the critical work of keeping the government open after November 17, “instead of working on a budget.” And he warned that no new funds to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war have been authorized.
“These are life and death stakes,” Murphy said, lamenting this “makes us look so weak and foolish around the world.”
Let me tell you about the real world consequences of Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as Speaker. No one should celebrate this day. This level of dysfunction is terrible for America. pic.twitter.com/7NsQrz7Pro
— Chris Murphy 🟧 (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 3, 2023
Watch Sen. Murphy’s remarks above or at this link.
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