ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a historic decision that guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry and equal respect for their marriages across America. This ruling is the final nationwide victory to the decades-long freedom to marry movement, ending the state-by-state patchwork of marriage laws and establishing marriage equality as the law of the land.
“Today’s ruling is a historic victory for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all love,” said Laura Schauer Ives, one of the ACLU attorneys who litigated Griego v. Oliver, the court case that established the freedom to marry in New Mexico in 2013. “We in New Mexico can be proud in knowing that, as the 17th state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, we played an important role in advancing this issue on the national stage to where we are today.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated six cases from four states on the issue of marriage equality. The ACLU represented clients in two of the six cases, Bourke v. Beshear, a federal court challenge to Kentucky’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and Obergefell v. Hodges, a case filed in Ohio that presents the question of whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to recognize a same-sex marriage validly licensed by another state. The Supreme Court’s ruling today establishes that state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional, and all states must recognize valid same-sex marriages just as they would opposite-sex marriages.
More than fifty courts ruled in favor of marriage equality following the Supreme Court’s watershed 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In January 2015, the high court granted review of an aberrant Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld marriage bans in the four states – the first appeals court to do so after Windsor.
"Today is a high point in decades of struggle for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans," said Ives. "It is a day for celebration, but the struggle is not yet over. In many places, LGBT Americans still face discrimination in housing, employment, medical care, and other basic areas of life. Our work continues until LGBT people enjoy the same dignity, respect, and equality under the law as anyone else."