Equal Rights Trust Case Summary Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al.

Tuesday, 7 July, 2015
In a 5 – 4 ruling delivered on 26 June 2015, the US Supreme Court determined that the right to marriage equality was protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The decision in the case, Obergefell v Hodges, means that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 US states.

The Obergefell v Hodges case concerned two men whose same-sex partners had died and fourteen same-sex couples who all brought cases in their respective District Courts challenging either the denial of their right to marry or the right to have their marriage performed elsewhere recognised in their own state. The cases were heard in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, each of which defines marriage as between a woman and a man. In each case, the relevant District Court found in favour of the petitioner. Each of the respondents, who were state officials responsible for enforcing the relevant laws, appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit consolidated the respondents’ appeals and reversed the decisions, finding in favour of the respondents. The petitioners then sought certiorari in the Supreme Court.