The Supreme Court of the United States of America on Friday finally legalised same sex marriage throughout the whole country.
Before the announcement, only states which had passed the legalisation allowed same-couple marriages, but under the new ruling all 50 states in the country would allow same sex marriage.
The issue of same sex marriage has led to significant changes in matrimony laws including a court ruling over 50 years ago that legalised interracial marriage.
This new ruling means that the ban on gay marriages in 14 US states has been cancelled. The states which forbid it are geographically situated in the “Bible Belt” areas of the Southern US.
Today’s ruling means the decision from Cincinnati’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the right of states to maintain “the traditional definition of marriage” has been cancelled.
A 5-4 decision with the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy made the decision possible.
He wrote of same sex couples: “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court debate over marriage, and gay rights generally.
President Obama tweeted after the announcement: “Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else.”
Vice-president Joe Biden in a statement said@: “All marriages, at their root, are about love.”
While same sex marriages re allowed in America, such union is forbidden in Nigeria. The punishment for such a union or engaging in sexual relationships with a fellow gender could earn such an individual 14 years imprisonment.