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Lost U.S. Supreme Court

Obergefell v. Hodges

ADF filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges.

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Summary

Same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in federal court that seeks to have Ohio’s constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman declared unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has consolidated the case with three other cases within the 6th Circuit: DeBoer v. Snyder, Tanco v. Haslam, and Bourke v. Beshear.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • After Ohio passed a constitutional amendment affirming marriage is the union of one man and one woman, same-sex couples filed a lawsuit seeking to have the amendment declared unconstitutional. The case ascended to the U.S. Supreme Court, which consolidated it with three other cases under the title Obergefell v. Hodges.

    In a 5-4 ruling, the Court wrongly held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to license and recognize unions between two people of the same sex as “marriages.”

  • The Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015.

  • The Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision required all states to change the definition of marriage to include unions between two people of the same sex. The 5-4 majority held that the U.S. Constitution requires such a definition of marriage, even though the Constitution does not address the issue and historical tradition is firmly against such a change.

    At the time of the decision, voters in 31 states had chosen to affirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Each of those states had to essentially amend their laws to change this definition after Obergefell v. Hodges was decided.

    Since then, the decision has contributed to hostility toward people who hold to the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Many states have subsequently passed laws targeting people who hold this belief, and business owners in various states are facing fines and even jail time if they refuse to express support for same-sex marriage.

  • Yes. Americans have the right to address important social issues through the democratic process. In 31 states, voters had engaged in this process and ultimately decided to affirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

    However, the 5-4 majority in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision unilaterally declared that every state must change the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions. The Constitution does not address this issue, meaning it should have been left to the states to decide. Instead, the Court overrode the will of voters in a clear majority of states.

  • ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Ohio’s constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Along with the Alabama attorney general, we argued that marriages between one man and one woman help ensure children can grow up with both their biological mother and biological father, who are typically best suited to provide care for them. In addition, we explained that the Supreme Court should allow voters to exercise their democratic rights on important social issues. Sadly, the Court ultimately ruled against Ohio and forced states to change their definition of marriage.

Additional Resources

Kellie Fiedorek: The Supreme Court’s gay-marriage ruling is a huge blow to democracy (Washington Post, 2015-06-29)

James Gottry: Marriage no longer matters...and that’s why it matters (The Hill, 2015-06-29)

Alison Howard: Millennials have the opportunity to help restore marriage (Daily Caller, 2015-06-29)

Erik Stanley: What your church needs to know—and do—about the court’s marriage ruling (Gospel Coalition, 2015-06-27)

Doug Wardlow: Supreme Court disavows truth about marriage, pits faith against law (Fox News, 2015-06-26)

Ken Connelly: Why Supreme Court got it wrong (CNN, 2015-06-26)

Austin Nimocks: Supreme Court’s marriage decision disrespects Americans’ freedom to affirm time-tested truths (Washington Examiner, 2015-06-26)

Caleb Dalton: SCOTUS decision may leave children asking: ‘So this is what daddies do?’ (CNS News, 2015-06-26)

Jim Campbell: With 5-4 gay marriage decision, battle far from over (USA Today, 2015-06-26)

Audio and transcript: U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges - Question 1 (2015-04-28)

Audio and transcript: U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges - Question 2 (2015-04-28)