Supreme Court extends same-sex marriage nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. The Supreme Court’s decision affirming the right to gay marriage came on a 5-4 vote.

In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes that “No union is more profound than marriage.” Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are the dissenters.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.

In 2003, the court issued its ruling in the case Lawrence versus Texas, striking down state laws that made gay sex a crime.

And on the same date in 2013, it struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law in the case U.S. versus Windsor.