Obergefell v. Hodges

2015 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide

Obergefell v. Hodges was a landmark decision United States Supreme Court case. The Court held that the recognition and provision of same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.[2] They ruled it is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[a][2]

Obergefell v. Hodges
Argued April 28, 2015
Decided June 26, 2015
Full case nameJames Obergefell, et al., Petitioners v. Richard Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al.
Docket nos.14-556
Citations576 U.S. ___ (more)
135 S. Ct. 2584; 192 L. Ed. 2d 609; 83 U.S.L.W. 4592; 25 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 472; 2015 WL 2473451; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250; 2015 BL 204553
Related casesBourke v. Beshear, DeBoer v. Snyder, Tanco v. Haslam, Love v. Beshear.
ArgumentOral argument
Opinion announcementOpinion announcement
The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. Baker v. Nelson overturned.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John G. Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan
DissentRoberts, joined by Scalia, Thomas
DissentScalia, joined by Thomas
DissentThomas, joined by Scalia
DissentAlito, joined by Scalia, Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
Baker v. Nelson (1972)[1]

Not one lawsuit change

The U.S. Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, is not the result of one lawsuit. Instead, it is the result of a consolidation of six lower-court cases originally representing sixteen same-sex couples, seven of their children, a widower, an adoption agency, and a funeral director. The original cases hail from the four states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. All six federal district courts ruled for the same-sex couples and other claimants. The lead plaintiff in the case was Jim Obergefell.[4] He had challenged Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage.[4] He filed the lawsuit because he could not put his name on his partner, John Arthur's death certificate.[4] Ohio would not recognize their marriage in Maryland.[5]

Decision change

The dissents in the Obergefell case argued that this decision was not based in law.[6] Chief Justice Roberts, in his dissenting opinion, explained the Obergefell plaintiffs’ “‘fundamental right’ claim falls into the most sensitive category of constitutional adjudication.” The claim is not based on a right mentioned in the constitution. Instead, it was argued that it discrimination against “a right implied by the Fourteenth Amendment’s requirement that ‘liberty’ may not be deprived without ‘due process of law.’”[7]

On June 26, 2015, Obergefell requires all states to issue a license to marry between all people of the same sex.[b] It requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.[9]

Notes change

  1. A fundamental right is one that is guaranteed by law.[3]
  2. In a Supreme Court decision, all affected parties have 25 days to appeal the decision.[8]

References change

  1. Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556, slip op. Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine at 23 (U.S. June 26, 2015).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. (2015) (“The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”).
  3. "Fundamental Right". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bill Chappell (26 June 2015). "Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States". NPR. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  5. Jennifer Bendery (24 June 2015). "A Day In The Life Of Waiting For The Supreme Court Decision On Marriage Equality". TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  6. Eliott C. McLaughlin (30 June 2015). "Most states to abide by Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, but ..." CNN. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  7. Millhiser, Ian (29 June 2015). "Chief Justice Roberts' Marriage Equality Dissent Has A Hidden Message For Conservatives". ThinkProgress. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  8. Charles J. Dean (29 June 2015). "Roy Moore: Alabama judges not required to issue same-sex marriage licenses for 25 days". Alabama Media Group. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  9. "Read the opinion: Supreme Court rules states cannot ban same-sex marriage". CNN, p. 5. Retrieved 30 June 2015.