The following comes from a June 26 Catholic News Agency article:
In a wide-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right and that states must recognize same-sex unions.
By a vote of 5-4, the court ruled June 26 that states must recognize same-sex “marriages” under the 14th Amendment, and recognize such unions contracted in other states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, said the court now holds that same-sex couples may “exercise the fundamental right to marry.” He characterized this as a liberty that had been denied to them.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito dissented and, in an unusual step, each wrote separate opinions.
“The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment,” Roberts said. “The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this court’s precedent.”
“Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” he said.
Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the decision as a “threat to American democracy,” “hubris” and a “judicial putsch.”
Justice Thomas said the decision means that conflict between the recognition of same-sex marriage and religious liberty appears “all but inevitable” as individuals and churches face demands to participate and endorse in these marriages. The use of the judicial process “short circuits” the political process that could consider religious freedom implications, “with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”
Similarly, Justice Alito said the decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” He objected to the majority’s comparison of traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women, saying this analogy’s implications “will be fully exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”
Justice Kennedy’s decision claimed that 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 purpose of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.”
Chief Justice Roberts said that a fundamental right to marry “does not include a right to make a state change its definition of marriage” and a decision to maintain marriage as a union of a man and a woman “can hardly be called irrational.”
Justice Thomas objected to the majority decision’s use of the legal principle of substantive due process, saying the court was “wiping out with a stroke of the keyboard the results of the political process in over 30 states.” The decision was an “inversion of the original meaning of liberty.”