United States President Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton
|Same sex couple and gay marriage advocates|
Jarad Milrad (right) and his fiancee Nathan Johnson
"Today we made a more perfect union," said Obama "Love is love."
The ruling, which puts to rest more than two decades of litigation, is another win for the president, America's first Black president, and comes just a day after the high court upheld financial aid subsidies under the Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act, which Republican congressional leaders love to hate, is the president's signature universal healthcare law passed by Congress in 2010, and upheld as constitutional by the nation's high court in 2012.
Leading up to today's ruling on same sex marriage, the high court heard oral arguments on April 28 in four consolidated cases together titled Obergefel v. Hodges, the primary question before the court being the issue of whether same-sex couples enjoy a constitutional right to marry.
The liberal and conservative justices were split on the matter then, and relative to today's ruling, with Justice Anthony Kennedy holding and ultimately issuing the unprecedented swing vote in the case.
Thousands had converged on Washington, D.C. and protested in front of the Supreme Court for oral arguments, both advocates and opponents of same sex marriage.
The arguments, which went on for more than two hours, centered around gay marriage bans in the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Ohio that were upheld by the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio , a 2-1 decision of a three-judge panel issued late last year that created a conflict with other appellate rulings. That conflict between federal appeals courts made the case ripe to be heard by the Supreme Court of the land.
The Sixth Circuit, pursuant to its decision issued last year, upheld the trial courts ruling saying that the state legislature and voters in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee, and not the courts, should decide the issue of same sex marriage.
Obama had also said that "the equal protection clause [of the 14th Amendment] guarantees same sex marriage in all 50 states."
Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former U.S senator representing the state of New York who served as secretary of state during the president's first term, and who announced earlier this year that she will make a second bid for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, supports same sex marriage, and the landmark decision just issued by the Supreme Court.
"I was proud to help launch Hillary's campaign," said same sex marriage advocate Jared Milrad in a press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news." She's been an advocate for equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and gender Americans."
Milrad is featured with his fiancee Nathan Johnson in Clinton's video for her announcement for president
Until today, gay marriage was legal in 37 states, and banned in 13.
About six in 10 of U.S. registered voters support gay marriage, polls show.
John J. Bursch, the lawyer for the opponents, said during oral arguments before the high court , and before its historic ruling, that same sex marriage is not a constitutional right and that it perpetuates children born out of wedlock . The attorneys representing proponents of gay marriage countered and told the justices that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, among other arguments. That denial of due process, they argued, creates an undue interference with the fundamental freedom of marriage.
Justice Kennedy asked tough questions on both sides and said that while he is concerned about changing a conception of marriage ingrained in the American way of life, he is equally uncomfortable with excluding the gay and lesbian communities from what he called "a noble and sacred institution."
The four conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas, the only Black on the high court, dissented.
Several of the more liberal justices asked the lawyers during oral arguments how extending marriage to same sex couples would harm anyone, including heterosexual couples that now enjoy the right to marry without discrepancy.
“You are not taking away anything from heterosexual couples if the state allows gay couples to marry," said Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the more liberal of the four liberal justices, the other three of whom are Sonia Sotomayer, Elena Kagan and Stephen Bryer.
Ginsburg was nominated by former president Jimmy Carter, Sotomayer and Kagan were nominated by Obama, and Bryer is a nominee of former president Bill Cinton.
U.S. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president and must be subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve. They are appointed for life.
(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com