Obergefell v. Hodges: Are All Marriages Equal? – The Place of Same Sex Marriages Before The Law

Obergefell v. Hodges is one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions in recent memory. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to license same-sex marriages and to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. 

This article will provide an overview of Obergefell v. Hodges and its implications for same-sex couples before and after the decision. It will also discuss some of the criticisms that have been levelled against Obergefell v. Hodges. Finally, it will consider what lies ahead for same-sex couples in light of this landmark decision.

Obergefell v. Hodges Case Summary

The Obergefell v. Hodges case was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2015, and arose from a conflict between state laws that recognized same-sex marriage and those that did not. The plaintiffs sought to have their marriages legally recognized, while the respondents argued that state laws should be allowed to determine the recognition of such unions.

The main question before the court was whether states had to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex if one partner lived in a state where such marriages were legal, but moved to a state that didn’t recognize it. In essence, this boiled down to an argument about whether or not all marriages were indeed equal under law, regardless of the gender of those being married.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which he delivered on June 26th, 2015. In it, he asserted that prohibiting same-sex marriage was a violation of both the Due Process and Equal Protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. He wrote that marriage is “a keystone of our social order” and that denying same-sex couples access to this right was an instance of discrimination.

Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of Obergefell et al., with a 5-4 decision. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote: “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 they once were.” This ruling was a major victory in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in America.

The decision set an important precedent that all marriages must be recognized as equal under the law. It also affirmed that any state legislation aimed at restricting marriage rights in such a way would be unconstitutional. 

This ruling has been hailed as a major milestone for civil rights and equality throughout the United States.

The Jurisprudential Importance of Obergefell v. Hodges

The Obergefell v. Hodges case was an important victory for the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, but it was also a momentous decision in terms of jurisprudence. The case addressed issues related to federalism and the limits of state powers, as well as questions about the scope of individual liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

In particular, this case is notable because it relied heavily on the understanding that the Fourteenth Amendment was written to guarantee citizens equal protection and due process under the law. This landmark ruling demonstrated that this amendment could be used to secure rights for minority groups, including those of LGBTQ+ Americans, who had historically faced discrimination.

The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has also had a wide-reaching impact on several other areas of law, such as adoption and parentage laws, spousal benefits, taxation laws, and much more. As such, it is likely to remain an important legal precedent in the years to come.

For many LGBTQ+ Americans, the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges marks an important milestone in their fight for equality before the law. The case serves as a reminder that, no matter what the circumstances are, all marriages should be respected and recognized equally under the law.

The Impact of Obergefell v. Hodges on the Well-Being of LGBT 

The Obergefell v. Hodges case was a major victory for the rights of LGBT Americans, as it affirmed that their marriages be treated with equal respect and recognition under law. However, this decision also had far-reaching implications for the well-being of LGBT individuals in terms of family stability, economic security, and access to health care.

According to research conducted by UCLA’s School of Law’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, marriage equality has helped increase acceptance among heterosexuals toward LGBT people, while also improving mental health outcomes among LGBT couples who are now able to legally marry. Additionally, the ruling has allowed same-sex married couples access to spousal benefits such as social security and health insurance coverage, in addition to other financial benefits.

Overall, the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling has had a positive impact on the lives of LGBT people throughout the United States by ensuring marriage equality and providing access to economic stability. As such, this decision will continue to have an important effect on legal rights and social acceptance moving forward.

Pros and Cons of Obergefell v. Hodges Case and Decision

This ruling has been praised by many since then and is seen as a major step forward for civil rights, but it was also met with some resistance from those who disagreed with the decision on religious or moral grounds.


  • The decision ensured the legal protection of same-sex marriages, making them equal to opposite-sex marriages in all 50 states.
  • It affirmed the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry and make decisions about their marital status just like any other couple.
  • The ruling recognized the legality of all existing same sex marriage contracts across the U.S., providing security for individuals who had previously married without state recognition or protection.


  • The Obergefell v. Hodges case sets a dangerous precedent by allowing federal courts to set public policy without going through Congress first. This could have implications on issues such as abortion and religious freedom in the future.
  • Some argue that it diminishes the value of traditional marriage by redefining it and extending its meaning to include same-sex unions.
  • Opponents of the ruling argue that it violates religious freedom, as they now have to abide by laws regarding same-sex marriages that go against their beliefs.

Regardless of individual opinions on the matter, Obergefell v. Hodges marks a major milestone in marriage equality in the U.S. and is likely to shape future policy decisions for years to come. As such, understanding both the pros and cons of this case can help provide a more complete picture when discussing how it affects our current legal landscape.

Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges: Similarities and Differences

The Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) have been two of the most important decisions made by the court in recent history, as they both have had long-lasting implications on civil rights in the United States. While these cases share a number of similarities, there are also some important differences between them.


  • Both decisions were made by the Supreme Court and, as such, have had a major impact on U.S. law.
  • They both involved controversial topics that sparked heated debates about civil rights and personal freedoms.
  • Both rulings resulted in landmark legislation that altered the legal landscape across the entire country.


  • Roe v. Wade concerned women’s reproductive rights while Obergefell v Hodges was focused on marriage equality for same-sex couples
  • The Roe v Wade decision sought to protect an individual right to privacy whereas the Obergefell ruling was made with a more communal focus in mind, seeking to ensure the rights of all same-sex couples across the U.S.
  • The Roe v Wade decision was made in 1973 while Obergefell v Hodges was not decided until 2015, showing that progress towards marriage equality has been much slower than other civil rights causes.

Despite their differences, both cases have had a lasting impact on our nation’s laws, and both will continue to shape legal decisions in the future. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two major cases can help us better understand their implications on civil rights today.

Is Obergefell v. Hodges next to be overturned?

The Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in 2015 was a landmark decision that extended marriage equality rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states. The ruling has been highly controversial, with many believing it should be overturned or revisited due to the changing social and political landscape in the U.S.

As such, there is much speculation as to whether or not the ruling will be overturned in the near future. At this point, it is difficult to say definitively if Obergefell v Hodges will be overturned anytime soon.

While some conservative groups have called for its repeal, legal scholars do not believe that it will be easy to do so given that most of its key points are now embedded into other areas of the law. For example, many states have passed laws that provide specific protections for same-sex couples in regards to adoption and parenting rights, which are based on the decision made in Obergefell v Hodges.

Furthermore, public opinion on this issue has shifted dramatically since 2015, with an increasing majority of Americans now supporting marriage equality. This shift in public opinion would make it very difficult to overturn Obergefell v Hodges even if a new case were presented before the Supreme Court.

Overall, while there is no guarantee that Obergefell v Hodges will remain unchallenged forever, its current position as settled law remains strong and unlikely to be overturned anytime soon.

Ultimately, only time will tell if Obergefell v Hodges will be overturned. In the meantime, it remains an important decision that has had a major impact on civil rights in the United States and is likely to continue to shape policy decisions for years to come.


The Obergefell v. Hodges case will go down in history as a landmark decision in the U.S., and has had lasting impacts on how same-sex marriages are treated under the law.

The ruling ensured that all marriages would be given equal protection under the law, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This is a historic moment for LGBTQ+ rights and for marriage equality as a whole, and it is likely to have long-lasting implications in terms of civil rights going forward. Same-sex couples can now enjoy the same benefits, protections, and respect as any other couple, with their relationships finally being recognized by the law.

The Obergefell v. Hodges case was an important step forward towards creating an inclusive and equitable society, and is a reminder that the fight for equal rights is never over. This ruling provides all same-sex couples with the dignity, respect, and recognition they deserve, and serves as an affirmation of their right to love and be loved just like any other couple. It also signals a further shift away from discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, setting a strong precedent for future civil rights litigation in the U.S.

The Obergefell v. Hodges case will undoubtedly continue to reverberate throughout American history – not only in the courtrooms but in the hearts and minds of LGBTQ+ people everywhere who can now celebrate knowing that their relationships are valid under law and fully recognized by society. This decision truly marks a new era of marriage equality, and it is an important reminder that love wins in the end.

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