State bans on same-sex marriage are no longer legal in America, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today.
Below is what the justices said in today's majority opinion and four dissents, as well as a summary of related survey data. [CT has also rounded up reactions from Christian thinkers and legal experts.]
Essentially, the majority believe the First Amendment gives religious groups and people "proper protection" to "continue to advocate" their beliefs on traditional marriage. But the dissenters are more skeptical, and concerned that "people of faith can take no comfort" in the ruling.
"Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises," acknowledges Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, "and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here."
He explains that while that "sincere, personal opposition" cannot be "enacted law and public policy" without harming gay couples and violating the Fourteenth Amendment, he favors a continued "open and searching debate" between those who favor and oppose same-sex marriage.
"It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned," writes Kennedy in a paragraph that will likely become the focus of scrutiny by church-state experts.
"The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles ...