2d 196 (2006), Andersen v. King County, 158 Wash. 2d 1, 138 P. 3d 963 (2006), Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N. Y. 2006). “What [those arguing in favor of a constitutional right to same sex marriage] seek, therefore, is not the protection of a deeply rooted right but the recognition of a very new right, and they seek this innovation not from a legislative body elected by the people, but from unelected judges. Most States have allowed gays and lesbians to adopt, either as individuals or as couples, and many adopted and foster children have same-sex parents, see id., at 5. Because that state of nature left men insecure in their persons and property, they entered civil society, trading a portion of their natural liberty for an increase in their security. When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. The other does not. See also Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 752–773 (Souter, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 789–792 (Breyer, J., concurring in judgments). Finally, 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. The Court also invoked the right to privacy in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003), which struck down a Texas statute criminalizing homosexual sodomy. See Locke §98, at 49 (suggesting that society would cease to function if it required unanimous consent to laws). of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), S. Ventura, Changing Patterns of Nonmartial Childbearing in the United States, NCHS Data Brief, No. Holder, 962 F. Supp. They see political leaders similarly reexamining their positions, and either reversing course or explaining adherence to old convictions confirmed anew. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution. . That is why Lawrence held Bowers was “not correct when it was decided.” 539 U. S., at 578. 309, 798 N. E. 2d 941 (2003). And in a “treatise routinely cited by the Founders,” Zivotofsky v. Kerry, ante, at 5 (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part), Thomas Rutherforth wrote, “By liberty we mean the power, which a man has to act as he thinks fit, where no law restrains him; it may therefore be called a mans right over his own actions.” 1 T. Rutherforth, Institutes of Natural Law 146 (1754). 2012), Windsor v. United States, 833 F. Supp. See Lawrence, supra, at 572. 14–556 etc., p. 38. In light of  precedent protecting the right of a married couple not to procreate, it cannot be said the Court or the States have conditioned the right to marry on the capacity or commitment to procreate. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Nor is the right to same-sex marriage deeply rooted in the traditions of other nations. It is more skeptical that the legal abilities of judges also reflect insight into moral and philosophical issues. Arranged marriages have largely given way to pairings based on romantic love. One respects the office of the presidency and has genuine concern for the people whom he serves. Similar sentiments were expressed in public speeches, sermons, and letters of the time. No  longer may this liberty be denied to them. For social democrats, it may include the right to a variety of government benefits. OBERGEFELL v. HODGES . (2015). The right to marry thus dignifies couples who “wish to define themselves by their commitment to each other.” Windsor, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 14). They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era. as Amici Curiae 16–19. When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” Tr. By deciding  this question under the Constitution, the Court removes it from the realm of democratic decision. than mere freedom from physical restraint or the bounds of a prison,” id., at 142 (Field, J., dissenting). As a result, questions about the rights of gays and lesbians soon reached the courts, where the issue could be discussed in the formal discourse of the law. Lawrence invalidated laws that made same-sex intimacy a criminal act. Yet the majority fails to provide even a single sentence explaining how the Equal  Protection Clause supplies independent weight for its position, nor does it attempt to justify its gratuitous violation of the canon against unnecessarily resolving constitutional questions. They ask nine judges on this Court to enshrine their definition of marriage in the Federal Constitution and thus put it beyond the reach of the normal democratic process for the entire Nation. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press. For instance, Maryland’s 1664 law prohibiting marriages between “ ‘freeborne English women’ ” and “ ‘Negro Sla[v]es’ ” was passed as part of the very act that authorized lifelong slavery in the colony. v. Beshear, Governor of Kentucky, also on certiorari to the same court. 395, pp. The first edition of Black’s Law Dictionary defined marriage as “the civil status of one man and one woman united in law for life.” Black’s Law Dictionary 756 (1891) (emphasis deleted). Leaving the current state of affairs in place would maintain and pro mote instability and uncertainty. In his influential commentary on the provision many years later, Sir Edward Coke interpreted the words “by the law of the land” to mean the same thing as “by due proces of the common law.” Id., at 50. Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: same-sex couples are denied all the benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right.

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