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June 26th, 2015

Marriage Equality is a Fundamental Right

This morning the United States Supreme Court, in a historic ruling, has declared laws banning same-sex marriage, and laws banning recognition of out of state same-sex marriages, as unconstitutional. The Court stated that the right to marry was a fundamental right, and to deny that right would be a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In this landmark ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy (in a 5 – 4 decision), the Court discussed the importance of marriage in our society. It recognized how marriage can make two persons greater together than the sum of the two alone. “Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.” While throughout history, the basic understanding of marriage was for opposite-sex couples, to deny same-sex couples the right to “to affirm their commitment to one another before their children, their family, their friends, and their community” would “disparage their choices and diminish their personhood.” The Court now recognizes that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry in all 50 states by this decision.

With a powerful statement, the Court concluded: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

More information on this decision will follow. Please visit www.whethertowed.com to learn how this decision may affect your current tax, financial planning and estate plans.