Man With Gay Flag Photo

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The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry in the United States.

Prior to the decision, 36 states and Washington allowed gay marriage, but SCOTUS' decision means the remaining 14 states, mainly in the South and Midwest, will have to stop banning same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

"The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them," Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The Supreme Court cited cases from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, were same-sex marriage restrictions were upheld by an appeals court.The decision makes the U.S. the 21st country in the world to allow same-sex marriage in every jurisdiction.

GLAAD responded to the landmark decision in a statement. 

"Today, love prevailed and our nation became a more perfect union by affirming that all people are indeed created equal and justice belongs to everyone," said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. "With this decision, loving and committed same-sex couples can finally rest knowing their families are protected and their dignity is no longer up for public debate. But as we celebrate this watershed victory for fairness, we are reminded that marriage equality is a benchmark, not a finish line, and our work to bridge the gap to full acceptance for LGBT people continues."

President Barack Obama made a speech after the decision was made, calling it a "victory" for many.

"The progress on this journey often comes in small increments," he said. "Sometimes two steps forward, one step back propelled by the persisistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes there are days like this. When that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives home."

He described the decision as something that will "end the patch-work system we currently have" and will "strengthen all of our communities."

"America is a place where you can write your own destiny," he said.

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