The Obergefell v. Hodges: Same Sex Marriage

Published on
January 24, 2023
Written by
Angel Murphy

Background on the Obergefell v Hodges Case

In American legal history, few issues have generated as much controversy and garnered as much public attention as same-sex marriage as in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. The reasons for this are varied. Part of the controversy stems from America’s cultural past. For most of its history, there have been religious objections to same-sex marriage. Other people have objected on other grounds as well. These objections kept same-sex marriage universally illegal, across all jurisdictions, all the way until the late 20th century.During the latter half of the 20th century, issues surrounding same-sex marriage began to receive more and more scrutiny. Ultimately, some states legalized same-sex unions. However, not all state governments followed this trend. So prior to the Obergefell case, there were still many states which forbade same-sex marriages.

Obergefell v. Hodges Case Bundle of Lawsuits

One thing that readers may not be aware of is the fact that the Obergefell case is actually a bundle of different cases. These cases – 6 separate cases in total – all involved the same issue of same-sex marriage. Although the fact scenarios in each case were somewhat different, the cases derived from different states.One of the key cases which received substantial attention in the Obergefell opinion was DeBoer v. Snyder. This was a case from Michigan involving two female partners and their children. The couple initially launched the DeBoer case. They claimed that Michigan’s adoption law was unconstitutional as currently written.Prior to Obergefell, Michigan’s adoption law forbade adoption by same-sex couples. Only single individuals or married couples (limited to opposite-sex partners in Michigan at that time) could legally adopt children.Aside from Michigan, the other cases bundled in the Obergefell lawsuit derived from Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

The Obergefell v. Hodges Case Ruling & Its Impact

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court justices ultimately ruled against the state bans on same-sex marriage, and so subsequent to Obergefell same-sex unions instantly became legal throughout the nation. The reasoning of the Supreme Court may be quite complex for those without technical expertise. Basically, the Supreme Court highlighted the importance of personal liberty and pointed out that marriage is a fundamental expression of personal choice. Allowing bans on same-sex marriage, therefore, would be an offensive infringement of personal liberty, in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause. Because of this reality, the majority held that such bans are indeed unconstitutional. Several arguments, including the notion that same-sex unions diminish the value of marriage as an institution did not move the majority.We can scarcely overstate the significance of this case to our present society. Now, all 50 states and all other territories subject to U.S. legal authority must recognize same-sex marriages. Given its far-reaching impact, we shouldn’t be surprised at all to know that this case is considered a landmark decision by American society. Even though this matter is essentially resolved from a legal perspective, controversy still persists regarding the desirability and propriety of same-sex marriage.Many Americans, particularly those with strong religious convictions, continue to hold that these unions should not be permitted. For now, however, Obergefell has put a major aspect of this debate to rest.

Contact The Murphy Law Firm for More Information

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to The Murphy Law Firm today by calling 240-493-9116.

Angel Murphy

Personable. Passionate. Persistent.

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