Jim Bourg/Reuters | 15157
On 26 June 2015 the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 that individual state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, and that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires all 50 states to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.
The first legal gay marriages in the US were conducted in Massachusetts in 2004. By the time of the decision, 36 states and Washington DC were allowing same sex marriages.
The case was known as Obergefell versus Hodges.
The US became the 21st nation in the world to recognise same sex marriage throughout the country.
The author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote:
The Court now holds that same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.