Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can legally marry in every state in the country.
With this ruling, the Court declared unconstitutional the efforts of several states around the country to discriminate against people of the same sex by not allowing them to obtain marriage licenses or to recognize the validity of these marriages.
The decision of the Court will also benefit gay immigrant couples, because people of the same sex will no longer have to go to other states to legally marry and obtain marital benefits, including the right to file a family petition for a spouse.
The Court's ruling was 5-4, with conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joining Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan for the majority.
Justices John G. Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted against the decision.
In 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognized that same-sex couples who were legally married could file petitions for their spouses. But living in a state where gay marriage was prohibited was a major obstacle, because couples could not get marriage licenses and their unions legal. This forced them to travel to a state that did allow them to legally marry. That will no longer be necessary.
The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been the victim of discrimination for many years.
It was not until 1990 that the U.S. Congress ended the exclusion of persons of same-sex sexual orientation under the immigration laws. That same year, the Board of Immigration Appeals set a precedent by recognizing, for the first time, that a person could be persecuted for his sexual orientation and granting protection from deportation to a gay man.
Between 1993 and 2010, the so-called "HIV ban" prevented many gay immigrants from immigrating to or temporarily visiting the United States, and until 2012, transgender immigrants had to prove that they had undergone sex change surgery before USCIS would recognize their gender identity on their official documents.
The Supreme Court ruling is a victory in the fight against sexual orientation discrimination. No person should be discriminated against for wanting to marry and obtain marital benefits granted to heterosexual persons. Equality for all won today.