The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, making same-sex marriage the law of the land.
The justices reviewed cases from four of the 14 remaining states that allow only heterosexual marriage. Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee had their marriage bans upheld by the federal appeals court last winter, the only federal appeals court that ruled in favor of the states since the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law in 2013.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
"In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death," the ruling continues.
"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. 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."
Same-sex couples could already marry in 36 states, including Oklahoma and the District of Columbia. The 5 to 4 ruling means that same-sex couples in all 50 states can legally marry.