Historic City News has been informed that the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split decision, has ruled that the states are unable to regulate gay marriages and still adequately protect the 14th Amendment rights of gay couples; making America one of less than two-dozen countries where gay marriages are legal in every jurisdiction.
In the 14 states that have enacted a law banning or limiting the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry, those laws are no longer enforceable now that the Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
“I’m reading yet another beautiful, landmark decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy joined by four justices, once again vindicating GLBT equality. We’ve come a long way,” local gay rights advocate Ed Slavin told Historic City News this morning. “I was honored to be invited to write the first article on gay marriage for an American Bar Association publication twenty-four years ago. In a domestic partnership equal benefits case (the pioneering Duane Rinde v. Woodward & Lothrop, 1989-90) we litigated and settled the issue of equal discount benefits for employees at 30 department stores in six states and the District of Columbia.”
This decision hands a historic victory to the gay rights movement; a decision that would have been unthinkable just 10-years-ago.
Historic City News editor Michael Gold, an elected member of the St Johns County Republican Executive Committee, opined that the Supreme Court ruling will likely impact same-sex couples who share fiscally conservative values with Republicans, but have resisted Republican Party affiliation because of the party’s stance on gay marriage. “It’s no longer a legal issue; so, perhaps, it will no longer be a political one,” Gold said in a statement this morning. “However, political party platforms, to the extent that they don’t promote violation of any laws, do align themselves with philosophical and moral standards together with policies that support those views.”
Anthony Kennedy, a conservative justice who has broken with his ideological colleagues to author several decisions expanding rights for LGBT people, again sided with the court’s four liberals to strike down the state bans. The 5-4 majority ruled that preventing same-sex people from marrying violated their constitutional right to equal protection under the law and that the states were unable to put forth a compelling reason to withhold that right from people.
Photo credits: © 2015 Historic City News staff photographer