Here's how America legalized gay marriage, according to Obama

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At his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama said America's "unique strengths" helped to make gay marriage legal, among other things.


"Our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law — these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come," he said. "In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible … It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love."

In June of last year, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot enforce bans against gay marriage in the landmark case Obergefell v Hodges, officially recognizing and protecting gay marriage under the constitution.

Jim Obergefell, the main plaintiff in that case who set the historic ruling in motion, looked on from the first lady's box, where he was one of the Obamas' guests for the evening, as the president spoke. He sued the state of Ohio because his name was not listed as the surviving spouse on his husband's death certificate.

"I'm also going for all of the other plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, as well as all of the attorneys and all of those other people who came before me who helped get us to this point," he told reporters earlier today.

Not all states have accepted the Supreme Court's decision quietly. And also in the audience for the State of the Union on Tuesday night was Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue gay marriage licenses despite the Supreme Court decision and a subsequent court order issued specifically to her.


And last week, Alabama's Supreme Court chief justice ordered state workers not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, claiming that it's still unclear whether the decision applies to Alabama.

So the SCOTUS decision might be a result of America's spirit, as Obama says, but it looks like there's still some way to go.