In a narrow 5 to 4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down marriage laws in states across the nation that declared marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The Court ruled that laws banning same sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution.
The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, also issued a statement declaring that the court’s ruling was a “tragic error that harms the common good and the most vulnerable among us.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, along with Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.
In his dissent Chief Justice Roberts said that “[f]ive lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.” The Chief Justice goes on to declare that “[t]he majority’s decision is an act of will, not of legal judgment.”
To read the majority decision and all the dissents, click Obergefell v Hodges.