Today's ruling covers four cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, in which the courts in each respective state asked to uphold marriage bans. In the Supreme Court's opinion, Justice Kennedy writes that the history of marriage is one of "continuity and change" and that the times have changed to meet the needs of gays and lesbians in the country. Marriage between straight couples doesn't differ from marriage between same-sex couples, so upholding laws that discriminate against them is unlawful:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. 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 judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.