While America might be the land of guns, mass incarceration, right wing paranoia and idiotic foreign policy, it sometimes gets things so right that it deserves its reputation as the freest nation on the planet. In a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that it is legal for all Americans to marry the people they love. From the Huffington Post:
The decision is a historic victory for gay rights activists who have fought for years in the lower courts. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize marriage equality. The remaining 13 states ban these unions, even as public support has reached record levels nationwide.
The justices found that under the 14th Amendment, states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that were legally performed in other states. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Here was Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion:
"The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them."
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Today is a good day for humanity - a testament to the enduring power of love that transcends all else. For too long our gay brothers, sisters, parents and friends have been consigned to lives of inequality in the eyes of the law, and today America did something about it.
Just let that sink in for a moment, and know that the world truly is a better place.