Kentucky couples celebrate breakthrough Supreme Court ruling on - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky couples celebrate breakthrough Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.

This historic case was brought, in part, by six Kentucky couples whose names will be written in the history books.

Kentucky plaintiffs, Luke and Jimmy Barlowe-Meade have been a couple for more than 40 years. They were married in Iowa in 2009, but they had stayed in the closet for most of their lives.

"We had never held hands in public, it was just not something that was done," plaintiff Luke Barlowe-Meade explained. "You didn't even think about, you didn't even think about gay people getting married."

President Obama spoke after the Supreme Court's decision was announced, saying it should make America proud.

"This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving, same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land," Obama said.

By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples nationwide have the right to marry in all 50 U.S. states.

The announcement of the decision ignited celebrations outside the nation's highest court, which have echoed across the country.

The justices said states cannot ban same-sex marriage, overturning the bans in place in Kentucky and in 13 other states.

Kentucky plaintiffs joined others from Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee as they challenged gay marriage bans before the U.S. Supreme Court in April.

It was clear from the questions asked inside the courtroom during the oral arguments in Washington the Justices were deeply divided. That's even more evident by their written opinions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy was the pivotal swing-vote. In his majority opinion, he wrote: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family."

In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: "Under the constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be."

"Our clients, and couples like them all over the country, are not second class citizens," attorney Dan Canon countered. "Their relationships are not second class relationships."

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over gay marriage and gay rights.

"Today, we're going to see the end of a lot of very long engagements in the state of Kentucky," plaintiff Tim love said.

In fact, Governor Steve Beshear quickly told the state's county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"The reason we are all here is we have wonderful families, wonderful couples who have deep, deep meaningful relationships that now no one can deny, not even the commonwealth of Kentucky," attorney Laura Landenwhich said.

More: Same sex couples line up to get marriage licenses in Louisville after Supreme Court decision

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