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The Great Debate: Obergefell v. Hodges

Obergefell v. hodges dissenting opinion

Photo credits: upload.wikimedia.org

 

On June 26th 2015, a momentous, groundbreaking and far-reaching decision was made in the USA. After many decades, years and months of controversy and debate, finally a ruling was made and a whole new era was born in the history of marriages. The ripple effect of this decision is bound to spread not only throughout the United States, but to the rest of the world as well.

The Case brief

The Obergefell v.Hodges case brief is as follows:
On the plaintiff side of this case was James Obergefell, representing fourteen same-sex couples plus two individuals whose partners had passed away. On the defendant side was Richard Hodges, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health. The plaintiffs came from the states of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee where same-sex marriages were not recognized. After filing lawsuits in their home states, and federal court districts, the appeal eventually reached the level of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The issues at stake were that same-sex marriages should be allowed, and that such marriages which had taken place previously in other states should be recognized as valid and binding. The conclusion of the Supreme Court, delivered by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy according to a 5-4 majority, was that same-sex marriages should be afforded the same rights, recognition and privileges as opposite-sex marriages.

The dissenting opinion

The Obergefell v. Hodges dissenting opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts stated that the constitution does not address this matter and therefore it should be left up to each state to decide their own policies. He was joined in the dissent by Justices A. Scalia, C. Thomas, and S.Alito Jr. They argued that by allowing the court majority to overthrow the traditional definition of marriage, the judiciary had been granted greater power than what the constitution would allow according to the democratic process.

Marriage redefined

The great debate of the Obergefell v. Hodges case has essentially redefined marriage. The age-old definition of marriage as being the sacred union of one man and one woman is no longer a given. Instead marriage equality is now accepted, with same-sex marriages being viewed by the majority as having the same status as opposite-sex marriages.

 

Someone once said, wrong doesn’t become right just because it is accepted by a majority.