The U.S. Supreme Court on has just made marriage for same-sex couples legal nationwide, declaring that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the Constitution.
The landmark ruling will produce the most significant change in laws governing matrimony since the court struck down state bans on inter-racial marriage almost 50 years ago.
The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were," Kennedy wrote. "As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death."
Kennedy went on to speak directly to the type of criticism that often comes from conservatives in pushing back against marriage equality.
"It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves," Kennedy said. "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
This tweet just in from President Obama:
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins— President Obama (@POTUS) June 26, 2015