In a historic victory for gay rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry their chosen partner.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the court’s three previous gay-rights rulings, said extending marital rights to same-sex couples will not alter or degrade the institution of marriage, as opponents claimed.
“Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the (couples) seek it for themselves because of their respect — and need — for its privileges and responsibilities,” Kennedy wrote. “And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.
“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” Kennedy concluded. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution gives them that right.”
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