The U.S. Supreme Court made a historical decision on June 26, 2015, when they ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marriage is unconstitutional. This decision concluded the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, which was began in the Ohio district courts after the marriage between lead plaintiff, James Obergefell and his late partner, John Arthur, was not recognized on Arthur's death certificate.
The case was brought to the Supreme Court after lower courts overturned state bans against same-sex marriages, which were previously protected by the Supreme Court. Among the plaintiffs challenging these bans were fourteen couples and two widows. The lead defendant was the director of the Ohio health department, Richard Hodges.
Per the case summary:
"The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. (…) The State laws challenged by the petitioners in these cases are held invalid to the extent that they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples. Pp. 22-23."
The fourteen states in which same-sex marriage bans were lifted include:
- Most of Missouri
- North Dakota
- South Dakota