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Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages

June 24, 2021

In continuation of the celebration of Pride Month, it is important to recognize and celebrate a major milestone in the advancement of civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community. On June 26, we acknowledge the legalization of same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex marriages must be recognized across the United States. Passing by only one vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of the right and that liberty.”

At the time of the decision there were thirteen states where a ban on same-sex marriage still existed. While Vermont legalized same-sex civil unions in 2000, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003. The Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges was the deciding case in which legalization was ruled and involved Jim Obergefell and John Arthur whom were legally married in Maryland, yet their marriage was not recognized in their home state of Ohio. This ruling followed many years of hard fought activism for equality and the right to marry whom you choose, yet, this decision continues to be challenged by advocates for opposite-sex-only marriages.

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, please use the following resources: DDEI Education and ResourcesDEI & Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, and the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.