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Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states, including Oklahoma. The historic 5-4 decision marked the end of a long and heated civil rights battle.

In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that "the history of marriage is one of both continuity and change" and that the institution has "evolved over time." However, in the dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia called the high court's decision a "threat to American democracy."

The case before the court began in 2013, when the Supreme Court issued a separate ruling saying that same-sex spouses must be afforded the same federal benefits granted opposite-sex spouses. After that decision, an Ohio man married his dying partner of 20 years in Maryland, but Ohio refused to recognize him as a "surviving spouse" after his husband's death. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit backed Ohio, and, after being bundled with similar cases in Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee, the case was put before the Supreme Court.

According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, public support for gay marriage is at an all-time high, with 61 percent of those surveyed saying they believe gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry. President Barack Obama called the Supreme Court ruling "a victory for America."

Unfortunately, some marriages end in divorce, regardless of the sex of the spouses. Any Oklahoma resident facing the end of a marriage may wish to consult with an attorney for assistance in negotiating a settlement agreement covering such issues such as property division and spousal support.

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