Supreme Court rules same-sex couples have a right to marry in all states

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In a historic victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in all 50 states.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court voted the Constitution requires same-sex couples be able to marry no matter where they live, the Washington Post reports, and that states cannot only reserve this right for heterosexual couples.

The Supreme Court used test cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to come to its decision, the newspaper notes, with these states having had their restrictions on same-sex marriage upheld by an appeals court last year.

But the BBC notes Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, ruled that marriage is a "constitutional right" for all.

The news agency says 37 states and Washington DC already allow same-sex marriage, with Massachusetts the first to approve it 11 years ago. Minnesota's same-sex marriage bill was enacted in 2013.

After proving a polarizing subject across the nation, the New York Times reports there had been a recent swing in public opinion, with the majority of Americans now approving of same-sex marriage.

The newspaper notes that Justice Kennedy was joined by four of the court's more "liberal" justices in approving nationwide same-sex marriage, including Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

The decision has the stamp of approval from Minnesota's U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who said: "This is a momentous day in our country's pursuit of equality and justice.

"We still have more work to do to advance the cause of equal treatment under the law," she added, "but today's decision is a major milestone for our country and a great victory for those who have fought tirelessly to make marriage equality a reality."

At this stage it is not clear when same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in states where it was previously banned.

The landmark decision comes as the Twin Cities prepares to celebrate what will surely be an even more exuberant Pride Festival this weekend – with a whole host of events planned ahead of the traditional Sunday parade.

Sen. Al Franken issued a personal response to the decision, saying: "Being married to Franni for 39 years is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I believe that every loving couple should have the same opportunities that we have enjoyed.

"Now that marriage equality is a reality, it's long past time that Congress finish the job and pass comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBT Americans."

While same-sex marriage is already legal in Minnesota and Wisconsin, it is banned in North Dakota, but Governor Jack Dalrymple has said the state will abide by the Supreme Court ruling.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation and we will abide by this federal mandate," Dalrymple told The Fargo Forum.

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