Obergefell vs Hodges, aka “Love Wins”

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State 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.” – 14th Amendment, Section 1

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the right to marry whom you choose falls under the right to liberty, protected under the 14th amendment.

The majority decision, agreed upon by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, states “the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and they abridge central precepts of equality.”

The original lawsuit was filed in 2013, when Jim Obergefell and his husband, John Arthur, found out their marriage in Maryland would not be legally recognized in Ohio. This was important because John Arthur had been diagnosed with ALS and the two were getting their affairs in order. Because same-sex marriage was not recognized in Ohio, Obergefell would not be listed as surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate, and as such would not be able to be buried next to him in his family plot per cemetery rules. This case went from Ohio all the way to the Supreme Court, where the landmark case made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, requiring all states to issue licenses and recognize the marriages in every state. 

While this was a huge celebration, it was never officially codified into law. On June 24, 2022, after the majority overturned Roe vs. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurrent piece where he suggested the Supreme Court also review their previous decision on Obergefell vs. Hodges, suggesting that overturning this decision was not outside the realm of possibilities. 

On July 18, 2022, Rep. Jerrold Nader (D-NY-10) introduced H.R. 8404, also known as the Respect for Marriage Act. This bill has passed the House, and 47 Republicans voted yes. It is a start, but as of the time of this writing in August of 2022, it has not yet passed the Senate.