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Celebrating 8 Years of Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples in the US!

Published Monday, Jun. 26th, 2023

Photo: Sofia Hernandez / Unsplash

Happy ‘Marriage Equality Day’! 


Eight years ago today, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry anywhere in the U.S.


This momentous decision brought an abrupt end to all state bans against same-sex marriage, and guaranteed that all couples have equal access to the joys and legal benefits that marriage brings – regardless of their sexual orientation. 


At the time, only 37 states allowed same-sex marriage. 13 states still had bans in place, and most of those wouldn’t recognize marriages that were performed legally in other states.


The case that changed history, Obergefell v Hodges, was decided by the Court in a narrow 5 to 4 vote. But public opinion was changing, in the same way it had regarding interracial marriages in the years leading up to (and following) Loving v Virginia. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ couples who wished to marry could no longer be defended or justified. 


Justice Kennedy wrote in the Opinion of the Court that the right to marriage was ‘fundamental’ and protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. 


He went on to say:  


“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.”


(Read the original syllabus and Opinion of the Court delivered by Justice Kennedy) 



Two grooms rest their foreheads together and hold hands lovingly during an outdoor wedding ceremony, they're wearing matching tan vests and rainbow colored boutonnieres

Photo: Ashley Nicole / Unsplash



Looking ahead


The anniversary of Obergefell is absolutely worth celebrating – loudly! – but it’s also a reminder that the right to marry can’t be taken for granted. Eight years is not a very long time, and there’s still a lot of work to do!


Related: The Advocate Interviews Jim Obergefell About Marriage Equality Today


LGBTQIA+ families face daily discrimination in cities and towns across the country, and that discrimination has grown more visible, more vocal, and more dangerous in the last couple years. Hate crimes against all LGBTQIA+ communities are intensifying (via Dept. Homeland Security), many LGBTQIA+ couples struggle to find an accepting marriage officiant to perform their wedding, and there are threats from conservative Supreme Court Justices that Obergefell v Hodges should be overturned in the wake of overturning Roe v Wade.


Related: Marriage Equality Threatened once more, as Two Supreme Court Justices Challenge Obergefell v Hodges


So as we celebrate love today, and this big win for marriage equality, let’s remember to embrace action, too. Online ordination helps ensure that members of the LGBTQ+ community have equal access to ordination, and the ability to marry people in their community. And as an AMM Minister, you have the power to be a source of love and acceptance in your community – today and everyday!


You can lead by example and show others a path of acceptance, tolerance, compassion, and love. You can inspire change through being inclusive, by offering ministry and marriage services to all couples without judgment, and by lovingly serving couples regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion. 


AMM’s Executive Director Minister Lewis King says it well:


“Our commitment to equality insists that we see ourselves in every person we meet, whether it be the pregnant woman facing a life-altering decision, or the gay man seeking to marry his partner in the face of discrimination, and in every other living being that shares this planet."



Why Online Ordination Matters 

in the fight for Marriage Equality

American Marriage Ministries logo, two gold rings with three blue stars above

Equal rights might be the law in 2022, but many interracial and LGBTQ+ couples still struggle to find ministers who not only respect, but celebrate their unions.
That’s why American Marriage Ministries’ mission is a part of this story. 
Our ordinations allow all couples – non-english speaking couples, LGBTQ+ couples, interracial couples, rural couples, economically challenged couples, and everyone else – to find an officiant that won’t judge them, and who shares their values. 
Our ordinations are helping non-traditional couples of all stripes have public weddings that celebrate their lives, which moves the needle on public attitudes and helps bring this country’s laws and practices in line with the ideals that defined its founding.

Get ordained with AMM here. 




Read Next: 



Two brides on their wedding day, holding hands outdoors and smiling

Learn inclusive, gender-neutral alternatives for common wedding terms for the couple and their wedding party, and help make the wedding industry more welcoming to LGBTQ+ couples! Read the full article here. 




Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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