The U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor of marriage equality in a 5-4 decision released Friday morning. As a result of this historic ruling, same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.
Kentucky was one of 13 states where same-sex marriage had remained illegal — until now.
The decision to overturn such same-sex marriage bans grants equal marriage rights to all people. In today’s ruling, the majority wrote: “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process of Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”
The landmark case was titled Obergefell v. Hodges, named for an Ohio man who had sued his state to get his name listed on the death certificate of his deceased husband. However, the case included plaintiffs from four states, including Kentucky. The Kentucky case, dubbed Bourke v. Beshear, sought a ruling that Kentucky’s 2003 ban on same-sex marriages and the recognition of such marriages performed in other states is unconstitutional.
In a press release following today’s ruling, Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman said: “Finally, loving, committed families will no longer face marriage discrimination. This ruling tells us that the Supreme Court understands that there is no good reason to keep devoted couples from having the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
“I’ve never been more proud – the plaintiffs and legal team in the case from Kentucky have helped bring marriage not just to our state, but to the entire nation. Now, same-gender couples in every state will be able to legally make a commitment to each other.”
In the release, Hartman also announced plans for a celebratory marriage equality rally today; the event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Jefferson Square, at the corner of Sixth and Jefferson in downtown Louisville.
In a statement released shortly after the ruling, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said:
“This is a monumental win for equal treatment under the law, and I’m pleased that Louisville couples were part of this historic decision. Louisville has a proud history of leadership on fairness and civil rights. Fifty-two years ago, Louisville became the first city in the South to pass an ordinance banning discrimination in public accommodations based on skin color. Four years later, our city was the first in the South to enact an open housing law. And, in the late 1990s, Louisville led our state by passing a Fairness ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations and employment. Our nation took a giant leap forward today.”