WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “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 once they were.”
Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.
The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.
Court denies NRA request to block city’s gun magazine law
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday denied an emergency request by the National Rifle Association to block enforcement of a Bay Area city’s ordinance that bans gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
A court spokesman said Kennedy denied the request without comment. Kennedy oversees emergency appeals from California and eight other Western states.
Sixty-six percent of Sunnyvale voters approved the ban on high-capacity magazines in November. It went into effect on March 6, and since then, anyone with a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds was committing a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail or both.
Since 2000, California state law has outlawed the making, selling, giving and lending of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds – but it does not ban possession of such magazines lawfully acquired before 2000. Overall, the state has the toughest gun control laws in the nation.
Sunnyvale and San Francisco took the ban further and passed measures that made possession of high-capacity magazines a misdemeanor crime, moves widely seen as reactions to the 2012 shooting deaths of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
San Francisco’s law, passed by the Board of Supervisors in October and signed by Mayor Ed Lee in November, bans possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It is scheduled to take effect April 7. The Sunnyvale ordinance outlaws use as well as possession of the magazines.