Same-sex marriage bans in 14 states have been deemed unconstitutional following Friday's landmark Supreme Court ruling, establishing marriage as a civil right.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the 5-4 majority with each of the four conservative judges -- John G. Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito Jr. -- providing their own dissent.
"It demeans gays and lesbians for the state to lock them out of a central institution of the nation's society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life,"
"The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples."
The ruling extends marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples in the 14 states where same-sex marriage was previously banned. It also validates lower-court rulings in 20 states where marriage bans were struck down by federal judges.