In a landmark 5-4 ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage is a fundamental right for gay couples, June 26, 2015. The Court declared that the 14th Amendment requires all states to perform same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The state by state victories to legalize same-sex marriage, beginning with Massachusetts in 2004 culminated in the historic ruling for the country.
Here, gay rights supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. after the ruling was announced, Friday, June 26, 2015.
Rainbow colored White House
The White House is illuminated in rainbow colors after the historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in Washington, D.C on June 26, 2015.
Same-sex marriage in Texas
George Harris, center left, 82, and Jack Evans, center right, 85, kiss after being married by Judge Dennise Garcia at the Dallas County Records Building in Dallas on Friday, June 26, 2015. Harris and Evans were the first gay couple to be married in Dallas after the high court's ruling. Texas was one of 14 states where same-sex marriage was not legal prior to the Supreme Court decision that extended same-sex marriage rights across the nation.
Supreme court ruling
The crowd celebrates outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.
The high court ruled in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.
Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Va., hold up signs as they celebrate outside of the Supreme Court, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US.
The couple was married in Canada in 2009 when gay marriage was illegal in Virginia.
Plaintiff Jim Obergefell
Plaintiff Jim Obergefell holds a photo of his late husband John Arthur as he speaks to members of the media after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Obergefell and Arthur sued to force their home state of Ohio, where same-sex marriage wasn't legal, to recognize their out-of-state union. Arthur died three months after the couple married in July 2013. After the landmark ruling, Obergefell said, "I felt more like and equal American than I had in a very long time."
Obergefell received a congratulatory call from President Obama as he stood on the steps of the Supreme Court. Obama told him, "Your leadership on this has changed the country."
Margaret Conway, left, is kissed by her wife Rea Carey outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. after the justices ruled on June 26, 2015 that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry.
At 8:39 a.m. on June 26, 2015, in response to the Supreme Court upholding gay marriage, President Obama tweeted:
"This ruling is a victory for friends, families, and organizers who fought tirelessly for years for marriage equality.#LoveWins"
An avatar depicting the White House in rainbow colors then appeared on the White House's Twitter feed.
Supporters of gay marriage rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2015.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officiates the marriages of (L-R) Denise Niewinski and Cindy Jackson, Terrence McNally and Thomas Kirdahy and Sarah Joseph and Katrina Council on the steps of City Hall on June 26, 2015.
Mayor de Blasio marked today's Supreme Court ruling, which declared marriage a fundamental right for gay couples, by officiating the nuptials.
"They will make history as two of the first couples to exchange their vows with marriage equality as the law of not just our state, but of the entire country," the mayor said, speaking of the two lesbian couples he married.
Ariel Olah of Detroit, left, and her fiancee Katie Boatman, are overcome by emotion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as the ruling on same-sex marriage was announced, June 26, 2015.
By protecting same-sex marriage nationally, the court is ensuring that same-sex couples are entitled to same state benefits that all married couples receive, in every state.
Same-sex couples around the nation began to wed shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right for same-sex couples.
Emma Foulkes, left, and Petrina Bloodworth cut a wedding cake after being married at the Foulton County Courthouse, June 26, 2015, in Atlanta.
Georgia was one of 14 states where a ban on same-sex marriage existed. A court in Atlanta started marrying gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage. Fulton County Probate Court Clerk James Brock says three gay couples received marriage licenses.
The Supreme Court ruling extends marriage rights to gay couples in the 14 remaining states where same-sex marriage was previously prohibited. It also validates lower-court rulings in 20 states where marriage bans were struck down by federal judges.
Here, Carlos McKnight, 17, of Washington, D.C., left, and Katherine Nicole Struck, 25, of Frederick, Maryland, hold flags in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court the day of the ruling, June 26, 2015.
A long state by state battle by gay rights activists led to the momentous June 26, 2015 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty seven states plus Washinton, D.C. had legalized same-sex marriage prior to the high court's ruling.
Here, Jeff Ronci, left, and Juan Talavera embrace as they arrive at the Clerk of the Courts - Miami-Dade County Court to obtain their marriage license after the courts announced same-sex unions were legal on January 5, 2015 in Miami.
A stay on an August 2014 federal ruling extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the state expired, allowing hundreds of couples across the state to marry.
Vernita Gray, left, and Patricia Ewert, hold their Illinois marriage license at their home in Chicago following their marriage by a Cook County judge, Nov. 27, 2013.
They were the first couple to be married after the same-sex marriage law was signed by the governor.
Ewert and Gray, were granted an exception to marry before Illinois' law formally took effect because Gray was terminally ill with cancer. They married in November 2013 and Gray died the following March, three months before the law went into effect.
Debra Summers, left, and Lynne Womble pose for a picture after being married by U.S. Senator-elect Cory Booker at City Hall in the early morning hours of October 21, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.
Same-sex couples were allowed to legally wed at 12:01 am on Monday, October 21, 2013 across New Jersey, making the state the 14th in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couple Kris Perry (L) and Sandy Stier (R) speak to media during their wedding at San Francisco's City Hall in California on Friday, June 28, 2013. A lesbian couple who spearheaded a fight to end a ban on same-sex marriage in California wed June 28, 2013, hours after the ban was lifted following a landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Cheers erupted at San Francisco City Hall after Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier exchanged vows, in a ceremony conducted by California Attorney General Kamala Harris who said: "I now declare you spouses for life."
Edie Windsor, center, who sued the United States government in a court case challenging DOMA waves to revelers while riding in the New York Gay Pride Parade on June 30, 2013 in New York City.
Edith Windsor and her partner Thea Spyer were lawfully married in Ontario, Canada in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009 her will left her entire estate to Windsor. Because DOMA stated that the term "spouse" could only apply to marriage between a man and woman, Windsor was forced to pay over $350,000 in estate taxes.
On November 9, 2010, Windsor filed a lawsuit against the federal government, which made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to DOMA being declared unconstitutional, June 26, 2013.
A woman waves a rainbow flag after the Supreme Court ruled key portions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, at festivities outside the Stonewall Inn, on June 26, 2013 in the West Village neighborhood of New York City.
The Stonewall Inn became historically important in the Lesbian-Gay-Bigender-Transgender community after playing a key role during the Gay-rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The high court ruled to strike down DOMA and determined California's proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was not properly before them, declining to overturn the lower court's striking down of the law.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (C) celebrates during a rally after hearing results from the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage in City Hall June 26, 2013 in San Francisco.
The high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ruled that supporters of California's ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, could not defend it before the Supreme Court.
A sign referring to Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) plaintiff Edith 'Edie' Windsor is displayed in Manhattan following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on DOMA on June 26, 2013 in New York City.
It was the death of Windsor's life partner of 42 years, Thea Clara Spyer, which led to the case.
Enrique Castro and David Wilson celebrate getting married on the first day same-sex marriage were allowed in New York, July 24, 2011, one month after New York passed a law granted the right to marry.
Gay and lesbian couples lined up to get married across the state after winning a long legal battle. The New York law doubled the number of Americans living in states that allowed same-sex marriage.
It was the first time that a Republican-controlled legislature signed off on same-sex marriage.
Marchers in wedding dresses wave to the crowd in the Gay Pride parade June 26, 2011 in New York City. The parade coincided with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state on June 24th.
A couple marches in the Gay Pride parade on June 26, 2011 in New York City. The parade coincided with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state June 24th.
Bill Slimback, left, and Bob Sullivan both of Whitehall, N.Y., light a unity candle during their wedding ceremony at Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury, Vermont September 1, 2009, the first day same-sex marriage was legally recognized in the state.
Rev. Peg Esperanza, left, performs a wedding ceremony for Gary Seronko, center, and Curtis Rethmeier, of Des Moines, Iowa, right, outside the Polk County administrative building in Des Moines, Iowa, April 27, 2009.
In a Iowa Supreme Court decision April 3, 2009, the state recognized same-sex marriage. The first same-sex marriages took place April 27, 2009.
Robin Tyler, left, hugs Diane Olson after their same-sex Jewish wedding ceremony on the steps of Beverly Hills Courthouse, June 16, 2008, in Beverly Hills, California.
California began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex weddings when the state's Supreme Court decided that barring same-sex couples from marrying violated the state's constitution. Dozens of gay couples were married June 16, 2008. The ruling made California the second state to allow same-sex nuptials.
It was a bumpy road for California to legalization, however when issuing of licenses were halted from November 5, 2008 to June 27, 2013 because of Proposition 8. The proposition was a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
Diane Sabin, left, kisses her partner Jewelle Gomez at City Hall in San Francisco, March 14, 2005 after Judge Richard Kramer of San Francisco County's trial-level Superior Court ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Sabin and Gomez were among the 12 same-sex Bay Area plaintiffs.
A newly wed gay couple greet well-wishers on the steps of City Hall in Provincetown, Massachusetts after receiving their marriage licenses, May 17, 2004.
Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages in 2004.
A newly wed gay couple celebrates their union in Provincetown, Massachusetts on the first day it was legal to marry in the state, May 17, 2004.
Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages.
A newly wed gay couple poses for a portrait on their wedding day in Provincetown, Massachusetts May 2004. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages.