While my first read of Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell is certainly not detached, it is truly an enjoyable opinion to read. Eloquent in its defense of liberty, thorough in its review of precedents involving privacy and marriage, and makes a persuasive argument. Truly Justice Kennedy’s shining moment.
The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as welearn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”
Choices about marriage shape an individual’s destiny. As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has explained, because “it fulfils yearnings for security, safehaven, and connection that express our common human- ity, civil marriage is an esteemedinstitution, and thedecision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition….
The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, suchas expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.”
“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 be- come 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.”
I’ll leave the hypocrisy of the dissents for another post.