We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are
not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process
and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the
cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.