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in effect, upheld state action that denied gays and lesbians a fundamental right. The petitioners are 14 same-sex couples and two men whose same-sex partners are deceased.

Though it was eventually repudiated, men and women suffered pain and humiliation in the interim, and the effects of these injuries no doubt lingered long after was overruled. The respondents are state officials responsible for enforcing the laws in question. The first, presented by the cases from Michigan and Kentucky, is whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.

I These cases come from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, States that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. This view long has been held—and continues to be held—in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world.

The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. The petitioners acknowledge this history but contend that these cases cannot end there.

Respondents’ argument that allowing same-sex couples to wed will harm marriage as an institution rests on a counterintuitive view of opposite-sex couples’ decisions about marriage and parenthood. (c) The Fourteenth Amendment requires States to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed out of State. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES _________________ Nos. A From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage.