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A federal appeals court had previously ruled in favor of the state bans, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit U. Court of Appeals writing a majority opinion in line with the rationale that the issue should be decided through the political process, not the courts.Fourteen couples and two widowers challenged the bans.Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal," he wrote. Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters flooded the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Court to celebrate the ruling, proudly waving rainbow flags and banners with the Human Rights Campaign's equal sign, which have come to represent the gay rights movement."Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. In an emotional moment, the supporters sang the National Anthem, clapping wildly after singing that the U. is "the land of the free."The decision affirmed growing public support in the U. for gay marriage, with about two-thirds of Americans now in favor."In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.""Their hope," Kennedy wrote, "is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. The Constitution grants them that right."Carlos Mc Knight of Washington waves a flag in support of same-sex marriage outside the U. See photos from states that approved same-sex marriage before the nationwide ruling: Shante Wolfe, left, and Tori Sisson become the first same-sex couple to file their marriage license in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 9, 2015. Gay rights organizations swiftly denounced Moore's January 6, 2016, order.Chad Biggs, left, and Chris Creech say their wedding vows at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 10, 2014, after a federal judge ruled that same-sex marriage can begin in the state. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Utah when it declined to hear the state's appeal of a lower court ruling.
"In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.
It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate," Bush said in his statement. Mike Huckabee, said that conservatives must stand and fight by seeking a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
But conservative firebrands, including Louisiana Gov. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "proud" of the ruling and former Maryland Gov.
The two wed in 2004 after Massachusetts approved same-sex marriage. Kennedy has written the opinion in significant gay rights cases and when he uttered the key sentence that same-sex couples should be able to exercise the right to marry in all states, people in the Court's public gallery broke into smiles and some wiped tears from their eyes. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories.
"If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.