Same Sex Marriage in Arizona – U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
The United States Supreme Court issued its ruling regarding the issue of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, as well as a state’s recognition of same-sex marriage licenses.
The Court’s ruling focused upon 14th Amendment provides that no state could “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.
District Courts and state legislators have been in a lengthy legal battle regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans and whether states should be forced to recognize same-sex marriage licenses; although many recent court cases ruled that these same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional due to the provisions of the 14th amendment, some states believed it was necessary to appeal to the US Circuit Courts to attain a more influential ruling.
Some states were actually successful in the appellate process on a minor scale; Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio had their appeals upheld due to the fact that the three-judge Circuit Court panel decided social endeavors such as same-sex marriage should be decided not by lawyers or judges, but by legislative and congressional action.
Judge Martha Daughtrey, Judge Jeffrey Sutton, and Judge Deborah Cook created a split within the US Circuit Courts because of their conclusion, which meant Supreme Court action would be necessary to counteract the inconsistent rulings within the Circuit Courts. The majority opinion of these Supreme Court Justices has now set the standard for many same-sex marriage cases (or appeals) to come, because of the fact that it is the highest and most dominant court within the US legal system.
The case of Obergefell v. Hodges was heard in the Supreme Court and as stated, this ruling set the standard for many same-sex marriage laws and cases to come; it was a significant victory by a narrow 5 to 4 ruling among the justices for the gay rights community as the decision forbid the banning of same-sex marriage and required states to include the recognition of same-sex marriage licenses.
The majority included Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Ruth Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Keagan; all of whom supported the application of the 14th amendment in the context of love and same-sex marriage. The four judges who dissented include Justice John Roberts Jr., Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito Jr.; the prevailing reason for the dissension being that social decisions should not be decided by the judiciary branch as it discounts the power of the legislative/congressional process, and that lawyers/judges are in place to enforce the law, not create it. Also in the dissenting opinion, it is dually noted that there will need to be a vast amount of effort on the part of every state in order to properly initiate a process which includes the verification and recognition of all same-sex married couples.
Overall the interpretation of the 14th amendment was justifiable and constitutionally applicable towards the legalization of same-sex marriages. Although some judges felt that it was not up to the judiciary branch to make social decisions, rather it was up to the legislative branch; it was an undeniable and obvious fact that same-sex marriage reform had been rearing its head in the court system for many decades.
The recognition that this was more of a social issue did not hinder the application of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. The case ruled that love and marriage is a constitutional right that every human should be able to enjoy (Life, Liberty & Property), and although it was not optimal to accomplish this through Judiciary endeavors, it was almost necessary considering the vast amount of social stress related to the issue.