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In an undoubtedly groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution grants the right to same sex marriage. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which encompassed the Court’s recognition of the importance of the institution of marriage:

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.” Not only did Justice Kennedy’s opinion highlight the importance of the unity of marriage, it also highlighted that every person should be entitled to the right to marry: “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.”

Before this ground breaking decision, certain states within the U.S. already allowed same-sex marriage, however the vast majority, including Tennessee, still did not. The even larger question was whether those states that did not allow same-sex marriage would be forced to recognize a same-sex couples’ marriage that was permissible in another state allow those unions, which often resulted in same-sex couples not being able to divorce.

After today’s decision, the ban on same sex marriage still upheld by 14 states has now been struck down. What does this mean regarding divorces of same-sex couples? Simply put: now marriage is simply marriage, and same-sex couples seeking a divorce thereby have the same rights afforded to them as an individual in a heterosexual marriage. Specifically, same-sex couples are entitled to divorce. No same sex couple can be denied the right to marry, and neither can they be denied the right to divorce. Marriage equality also rings true in divorce or separation equality, and the same is true now for same sex couples alongside heterosexual couples.

Knoxville Family Law Attorney