Perhaps the most anticipated Supreme Court case has been decided, and it's a yes for same-sex marriage throughout the land. In a ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court voted 5-4 today that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, the AP reports. Kennedy wrote that gays and lesbians "may not be deprived of liberty" or of that "fundamental right" to marry, per CNN. Gay couples could already marry in 36 states and DC, but now the other 14 states will no longer be able to ban same-sex couples from doing so. The decision reveals the court's resounding "yes" to one of the most important constitutional questions posed in recent times, as worded by the Wall Street Journal in January: "Does the 14th Amendment, which guarantees 'equal protection' and 'due process' of law, forbid states from treating gay couples differently than heterosexual ones?"
The opinion seems to purposely not state a "standard of scrutiny," SCOTUSblog notes. Instead, it asserts "it is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples. ... This denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm." The court wrote an eloquent paragraph in its decision that's now making its way around social media: "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 that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness." President Obama made his feelings clear as well, sending out a tweet right after the ruling: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins."