|Gay rights supporters celebrate after the US supreme court ruled that the constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters|
Same-sex marriages are now legal across the entirety of the United States after a historic supreme court ruling that declared attempts by conservative states to ban them unconstitutional.
In what may prove the most important civil rights case in a generation, five of the nine court justices determined that the right to marriage equality was enshrined under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
Victory in the case – known as Obergefell v Hodges, after an Ohio man who sued the state to get his name listed on his late husband’s death certificate – capped years of campaigning by LGBT rights activists, high-powered attorneys and couples waiting decades for the justices to rule. It immediately led to scenes of jubilation from coast to coast, as campaigners, politicians and everyday people – gay, straight and in-between – hailed “a victory of love”.
The ruling, in which Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote, means the number of states where gay marriage is legal will rise from 37 to 50.
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