President Barack Obama on Friday
applauded the Supreme Court ruling striking down state bans on gay
In remarks delivered from the White
House Rose Garden, the president said the decision is another step
toward equality in the United States.
Court strikes down state gay marriage bans.)
Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created
equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of
those founding words with the realities of changing times – a
never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single
Progress on this journey often comes in
small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back,
compelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then
sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady
effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.
This morning, the Supreme Court
recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In
doing so, they have reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the
equal protection of the law; that all people should be treated
equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.
This decision will end the patchwork
system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of
thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether they’re
marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they
decide to move or even visit another.
This ruling will strengthen all of our
communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of
marriage across this great land.
In my second inaugural address, I said
that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to
one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that
principle enshrined into law by this decision.
This ruling is a victory for Jim
Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for
gay and lesbian couples who have so long for their basic civil
rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now
be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies
and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades working and
praying for change to come.
And this ruling is a victory for
America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already
believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we
are all more free.
My administration has been guided by
that idea. It’s why we stopped defending the so-called Defense of
Marriage Act and why we were pleased when the court finally struck
down the central provision of that discriminatory law. It’s why we
ended, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
From extending full marital benefits to
federal employees and their spouses to expanding hospital visitation
rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, we’ve made real
progress in advancing equality for LGBT Americans in ways that were
unimaginable not too long ago.
I know a change for many of our LGBT
brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long. But
compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been so
I know that Americans of good will
continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition, in
some cases, has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of
us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact and
recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to
But today should also give us hope that
on the many issues with which we grapple, often painfully, real
change is possible. Shift in hearts and minds is possible. And those
who have come so far on their journey to equality have a
responsibility to reach back and help others join them, because for
all of our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we
could ever be alone. That’s always been our story.
We are big and vast and diverse, a
nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different
experiences and stories but bound by the shared ideal that no matter
who you are or what you look like, how you started off or how and who
you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny.
We are people who believe every child
is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There
is so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America
to every American. But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that
we’ve made our union a little more perfect.
That’s the consequence of a decision
from the Supreme Court, but more importantly, it is a consequence of
the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across
decades who stood up, who came out, talked to parents, parents who
loved their children no matter what, folks who were willing to endure
bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in
themselves and who they were.
And slowly made an entire country
realize that love is love.
What an extraordinary achievement, but
what a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do
extraordinary things; what a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said
about how small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still
lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world.
Those countless, often anonymous
heroes, they deserve our thanks. They should be very proud. America
should be very proud.