Our Voices

Supreme Court Affirms Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage

(Washington, D.C. | June 26, 2015) Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights welcomes today’s historic Supreme Court Decision affirming a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. In a 5-4 ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court found that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage and requires all states to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in other states.

“Today, the United States took an enormous step toward fulfilling its founding promise of liberty and equality for all,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Like the victories of the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Labor Rights movements of the last century, today’s landmark decision is not simply a victory for one segment of the population. Rather, it is a triumph for all Americans, who should take pride in the latest expression of their country’s commitment to human dignity.”

“Today’s Court ruling is not only a historic recognition of the rights of LGBT people in the United States, but also a sign to people around the world that LGBT rights are indeed human rights,” said Santiago A. Canton, Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights. “As we celebrate today’s victory, we are mindful that we have a long way to go to ensure that LGBT people around the world can all one day live free from violence and discrimination because of who they are or who they love.”

The Supreme Court’s decision comes a little more than a month after Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote (rather than by legislation or court ruling) a sweeping change for a predominantly Catholic country that didn’t decriminalize homosexuality until 1993. With today’s judgment, the United States becomes the 21st nation where same-sex marriage is legal.

Despite these encouraging developments, the global LGBT rights movement continues to face severe challenges. More than 70 countries around the world continue to criminalize same-sex acts, leaving LGBT people vulnerable to discrimination, persecution, and violence. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has been particularly active in defending LGBT Rights in Uganda-where a 2014 law that has since been overturned made homosexuality a crime punishable by up to life in prison-and The Gambia, where President Yahyah Jammeh publicly threatened to slit the throats of gay men last month.