The US Supreme Court has reached a landmark decision on Friday, ruling with 5-4 in Obergefell v Hodges that marriage equality is protected under the US constitution.
Lesbian and gay couples now have a right to get married nationwide. Measures by individual states to outlaw same-sex marriage will be unconstitutional.
The ruling has interpreted marriage equality to fall under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. It follows several other major gay rights decisions by the court.
Although celebrated by members of the LGBT community and supporters throughout the nation as a “victory of love”, the close ruling remains highly controversial.
“By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas,” said Justice Samuel Alito in his dissenting judgement.
Louisiana Governor and 2016 presidential contender, Bobby Jindal (Republican), condemned the decision in a statement, saying the Supreme Court was “out of control”.
“If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court”, he said.
The 13 states which currently have restrictions on gay marriage rights in place will have to modify their laws to adapt to the federal ruling.
While same-sex couples in Texas rushed to the courthouses, other states such as Alabama are seeking to delay the procedure. Officials in Alabama’s Pike County have announced that they will continue to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Marriage equality had previously largely been a matter dependent upon decisions on a state level. A federal ruling in the US automatically overrules state laws.
President Barack Obama described the court’s decision as a reason to believe that “real change is possible”.
The first US state to legalise same-sex marriage was Massachusetts in 2004.