(AP) — The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.
While there don’t appear to be any explicit exemptions for religious institutions there is this from the SCOTUS Blog:
“The opinion notes that religious institutions have a first amendment right to advocate against same sex marriage.” There’s also a witty burn from Scalia noted in the blog.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”
We checked with Washington County probate judge Nick Williams. He was one of the first judges to say they would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year and remained defiant as federal court rulings seemed to indicate all probate courts should issue gay marriage licenses. Williams has posted a notice outside the probate court office saying they are analyzing the SCOTUS decision and, for the time being, will not issue marriage licenses to anyone.
The marriage license windows are still closed in Mobile County as well.