The US Supreme Court and Same Sex Marriages Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Same Sex Marriage

Clearly explain the SCOTUS's ruling on same-sex marriage. Make sure to discuss the constitutional issues on this ruling.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court is focusing on if same sex couples have the right to marry. This is because a number of states had bans on issuing marriage licenses for these kinds of relationships. Instead, all applicants must be a male and female versus two of the same sex. In response, several U.S. District courts had conflicting rulings about the constitutionality and legality of these proceedings. In some cases, they relied on the case precedent established under Baker v. Nelson. This is a 1972 decision, where the Montana Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to create laws that determine the conditions for issues marriage licenses. The Supreme Court declined not to hear the decision and by default upheld the ruling. This resulted in Baker v. Nelson, becoming the standard the states used for writing laws prohibiting same sex marriages. ("Obergefell v. Hodges," 2015)

Obergefell v. Hodges tested the constitutionality of these laws by forcing the Justices to reexamine the issue. They determined that these laws are in direct violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. They clearly state that all people are entitled to due process of law and having access to the same kinds of support / services as others. The fact that these laws are banning same sex marriages, is going against these provisions by effectively disenfranchising those who are gay. As a result, in a 5-4 decision the majority of the Justices voted to overturn Baker v. Nelson and create new guidelines for the states to follow. ("Obergefell v. Hodges," 2015)

A good example of this can be seen with Justice Kennedy delivering the opinion of the court with him saying, "The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs. Courts must exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. History and tradition guide and discipline the inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution's central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed. Applying these tenets, the Court…

Sources Used in Document:


Obergefell v. Hodges. (2015). Supreme Court. Retrieved from: 556_3204.pdf

Davis, A. (1995). The Supreme Court, Race and Civil Rights. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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