In a 5-4 ruling the United States Supreme Court has struck down same-sex marriage bans that remained in place across the country.
Amendment One, passed by North Carolina voters in 2012 banning same-sex marriage in the Tar Heel state, was struck down by the fourth circuit court of appeals in 2014. As federal courts continued to strike down marriage bans, the sixth circuit court of appeals chose to uphold bans in its district. That decision brought the case before the Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court heard arguments over same-sex marriage bans in late April and Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the ruling on Friday.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt issued the following statement:
It’s a great day for all Americans and for the promise of our democracy. Today the Supreme Court affirmed what a bipartisan supermajority—60%—of Americans have come to understand: the freedom to marry is a precious, fundamental right that belongs to all. This decision is a momentous win for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all, love. State officials should now move swiftly to implement the Court’s decision in the remaining 13 states with marriage discrimination. Same-sex couples and their families have waited long enough for this moment.
As we celebrate this victory, we know we have a lot of work left to do. It is more critical than ever that we harness the momentum borne from the marriage conversation to secure true full equality for LGBTQ people. No one should have to choose between getting married and being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or being denied service in restaurants and shops simply for being who they are. Hate, violence and deep barriers to healthcare access continue to harm LGBTQ people, especially trans people of color; and LGBTQ immigrants face widespread abuses in ICE detention centers.
The decades-long freedom to marry movement made history, fundamentally transforming the way Americans understand gay people. We stand together as a Proud community today, ready to continue working until the lived experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people is fulfilling, good, inclusive, and equal throughout the land.
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle issued this statement:
Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges is life altering for thousands of Americans. From this day forward, under the laws of our country, same-sex couples now have the absolute legal right to be married. I am so proud to be the mayor of a town that let the charge to this day – thank you, Carrboro.
So many of us were ready to receive the benefits and accept the responsibilities that marriage entailed, but never dreamed that we would be able to marry our partners in our lifetimes. Now we can.
Some may say that this victory came with surprising speed. It is difficult to think of another social sea change that had such a sprint to the finish line. But such a focus is too narrow, as it does not acknowledge or honor the people that suffered and the people that worked tirelessly to get us to this day. Nor does it recognize the people who will never know the benefits of marriage equality. Some were silent in the closet, some battled in the headlines. Many died without knowing that their efforts bore fruit, or without being able to publicly declare their love for another. But we know. We remember. We carry on for you. And we are grateful.
So today we celebrate and give thanks, and tomorrow we get back to work. One only needs look at other civil rights movements to realize that despite this accomplishment, there are more challenges to come. But that is okay – loving won today.
4th District Congressman David Price issued the following statement:
I join many of my constituents, some of whom have been waiting for this moment for a long time, in celebrating today’s Supreme Court decision, which continues the remarkable progress we have made as a country toward equal rights for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. I am reminded this morning of the landmark cases of the Civil Rights era, when justice finally won out over long-standing prejudice.
“But we should also remember that we still have a long way to go – in many parts of the country, including North Carolina, LGBT Americans still don’t enjoy equal protection against discrimination in the workplace, in schools, by medical providers, or in public facilities. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all of our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family members are treated fairly under the law.