President Barack Obama on Friday hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage as “a victory for America.”
“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts,” Obama said in a speech delivered from the White House Rose Garden. “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, forcing the 14 states in the South and Midwest that have not yet legalized the practice to stop enforcing same-sex marriage bans.
The President urged Americans celebrating the ruling to be mindful of those who disagree with the court’s opinion based on “sincere and deeply held” beliefs and to respect those individuals’ right to religious freedom.
“But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple — often painfully — real change is possible,” he said. “Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them.”
“There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American,” he later added. “But today we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we’ve made our union a little more perfect.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 26, 2015