In a historic ruling, the US Supreme Court today legalised same sex marriage, holding that gay people can get married in all 50 states of the country.
The order is seen as a big victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, which for decades have been fighting for their rights.
In its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court recognised that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality.
“In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love,” President Barack Obama said.
“This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move to or even visit another,” Obama told reporters at the White House.
Writing the order for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said marriage is a “keystone of the nation’s social order” and that there is “no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle”.
He criticised the fact that same-sex couples are denied the benefits that states have linked to marriage.
“It is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage,” he wrote.
Obama said the ruling is a victory for America.
“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts:Â When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free,” he said adding that his administration has been guided by that idea.
“It’s why we stopped defending the so-called Defence of Marriage Act, and why we were pleased when the court finally struck down a central provision of that discriminatory law,” said the president.
However, Republican presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal was highly critical of the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court,” Jindal said.
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that. Hillary Clinton and the Left will now mount an all-out assault on Religious Freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment,” he said.
Along with the millions of Americans, Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, said she is celebrating the landmark victory for marriage equality, and the generations of advocates and activists who fought to make it possible.
“From Stonewall to the Supreme Court, the courage and determination of the LGBT community has changed hearts and changed laws,” she said.
“This ruling is an affirmation of the commitment of couples across the country who love one another. It reflects the will of the vast and growing multitude of Americans who believe that LGBT couples deserve to be recognised under the law and treated equally in the eyes of society. And it represents our country at its best: inclusive, open, and striving towards true equality,” Clinton said.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell vs Hodges case to recognise that the Constitution forbids state governments from denying the rights of marriage to same sex couples.
“Today is a great day for all Americans who will have the dignity of marriage, regardless of where they live or who they love,” noted Harsh Voruganti, HAF associate director.
“The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces HAF’s stance throughout this case: that the Constitution does not permit governments to deny marriage to same sex couples,” he said.