The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling today that clears the way for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. In a 5-4 majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy in Obergerfell v. Hodges, the court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires the states to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize lawfully licensed out-of-state marriages.
Today’s ruling will benefit thousands of same-sex couples living in states currently denying equal access to marriage for same sex couples. The decision offers them and their families the same recognition and benefits as married heterosexual couples.
NASW has long been a supporter of same-sex marriage. NASW joined the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and other organizations in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court urging the justices to make the historic decision they issued today.
In that brief, NASW and the other groups argued that same-sex attraction is a normal part of human sexuality and that same-sex couples form committed relationships and are just as capable of raising children.
Conferring marriage rights on same-sex couples also offers them social, psychological and health benefits, the brief said.
Today’s decision could also have a profound economic impact on same-sex couples. NASW has partnered with the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) on a study that shows lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples and their families, including the right to marry, has resulted in higher taxes, reduced wages and Social Security income, and increased health care costs for this population.
The Supreme Court ruling will go a long way in helping address such inequalities and NASW stands ready to continue pressing for equal rights for all.
The National Association of Social Workers supports equal rights for all. To learn more visit our Diversity and Equity website.