On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a historic decision legalizing gay marriage in the U.S. In a 5-4 decision, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Breyer detailed why same sex marriage should be protected by the Constitution, and why they've decided to grant the right to all Americans.
But the decision, delivered by Kennedy, went beyond the nuts and bolts of marriage. Kennedy left us with a profound meditation on dignity, companionship, and the sheer power of love:
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 become something greater than they once 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 civilizations oldest institutions. They ask for 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.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.