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In June 2015, Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court changed the course of history by writing for the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. The effect was immediate jubilation among the gay community, particularly in those 13 states where marriage equality did not exist. Predictably, the backlash among conservative religious groups that had opposed marriage equality was equally immediate. This entry reviews the history of this issue and its relatively rapid progression through the cultural, political, and judiciary processes. The effects of marriage equality on lesbian and gay individuals and families are also reviewed, in addition to the impact on the larger sociocultural environment.

Historical Perspective

Marriage equality has been a ...

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