What a day! After decades of work by Lambda Legal and many others, we have at long last secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. Today’s moving and inspirational decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is one for the history books. Here are five important things to know about the decision:
Lambda Legal called on three courts to act immediately to strike down bans on marriage for same-sex couples in North Dakota, Louisiana and Puerto Rico in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling declaring marriage bans across the country unconstitutional. Lambda Legal is litigating marriage cases in those jurisdictions which have been pending during the Supreme Court’s consideration.
After all of the novel theories and nuanced legal arguments made by supporters and opponents of Obamacare over the many months this case has been pending, the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell essentially came down to this: denying health insurance subsidies to lower-income people in 34 states would have been so disastrous that Congress could not have intended that result when it passed the Affordable Care Act. As the Court’s opinion pointed out, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”
In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s decision invalidates all state statutes and constitutional amendments barring same-sex couples from marriage. Lambda Legal was co-counsel in one of the landmark cases decided today.