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 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.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy