The Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriages legal across the entirety of the United States.
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court termed on Friday morning attempts by conservative states to ban gay marriage unconstitutional.
Five of the nine court justices ruled that the right to marriage equality was enshrined under the 14th amendment, striking down bans in over a dozen states.
The ruling means the number of states where same-sex marriage is legal will jump from 37 states to all 50.
Anthony Kennedy, a conservative justice, casted the deciding vote, siding with the court’s four liberals to strike down the ban.
The justices rejected an argument presented by lawyers that marriage was defined by law solely to encourage procreation within stable family units, and therefore the definition of marriage could only apply to men and women.
“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,” Kennedy wrote in his opinion for the majority.
Critics have repeatedly said that the same-sex marriage will lead to the disintegration of family institution and sanctity of marriage.
They say the same-sex marriage is against the nature of human beings and all divine religions define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Ever since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage 12 years ago in 2003, a total of 36 states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized such marriages, most of them through court rulings.
The population of the states that support same-sex marriage comprises some 70 percent of Americans.
Experts believe that forcing the decision of the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter on an issue that has been already decided by the people and their elected state representatives in several states is not constitutionally correct.