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Supreme Court authors historic same-sex ruling

Photo of Karen Lavin


For generations, same-sex couples have dreamed of receiving equal treatment under the law. But for years, it was just a dream, a hope far over the horizon. Not anymore.

By a vote of 5-4, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. According to the ruling, "No longer may this liberty be denied" to same-sex couples. Going forward, these couples have "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."

The ruling follows decades of effort and advocacy that reached a zenith in recent years. Indeed, in the last decade public opinion has swelled in favor same-sex marriage. Proponents in Illinois and elsewhere greeted the ruling with jubilation and tears of joy.

But the ruling was anything but unanimous. It broke down along predictable lines. The four liberal members of the court plus swing vote, Justice Kennedy voted for recognizing the right to same-sex marriage. The four conservative members of the court, by contrast, voted against the decision.

The conservative wing balked at the recognition, arguing that the Constitution was silent on the matter and that the ruling represented an act of will rather than a legal judgment.

Unanimous or not, the decision is historic for same-sex couples across the union. The decision caps a tidal wave of change in both public opinion and the law in recent years. With it should come many other legal changes that Illinois same-sex couples should prepare for. To learn about how the Supreme Court's ruling might affect them, Illinois same-sex couples may benefit from discussing their circumstances with an experienced family law attorney.

Source: South Jersey Times, "Your Legal Corner: Modification of a child support order," June 22, 2014

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