In 30 years on the Supreme Court — the past 13 as the swing justice — Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the decisive vote in cases on issues ranging from abortion to affirmative action. Yet his legacy will be defined primarily by his opinions in the area of gay rights, where he wrote the major majority opinions expansively reading the Constitution to protect gay Americans. His gay-rights decisions will now face a hostile majority on the court, which is likely to overturn, cut back or nullify at least some of them. And he has made it surprisingly easy.
Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States
Supreme Court Rebuffs Clerk Who Withheld Gay-Marriage Licenses
Same-sex marriage is legal in the U. The state first issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples June 16, as a result of the Supreme Court of California finding in In re Marriage Cases that barring same-sex couples from marriage violated the state's Constitution. The issuance of such licenses was halted from November 5, through June 27, though existing same-sex marriages continued to be valid due to the passage of Proposition 8 —a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages. Perry , which restored the effect of a federal district court ruling that overturned Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.
Washington CNN The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake to celebrate the marriage of a same sex couple because of a religious objection. More Videos Supreme Court rules in same-sex wedding cake case Colorado baker: I couldn't create this cake.