The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.
The Supreme Court ruling that grants same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide comes on a date with legal significance.
Two previous gay-rights rulings by the high court also came on June 26. Both were also written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In 2003, the court issued its ruling in the case Lawrence versus Texas, striking down state laws that made gay sex a crime.
And on the same date in 2013, it struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law in the case U.S. versus Windsor.
The Supreme Court's decision affirming the right to gay marriage came on a 5-4 vote.
In his majority opinion, Kennedy writes that "No union is more profound than marriage." Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are the dissenters.
The decision in United States versus Windsor does not address the validity of state marriage bans, but courts across the country, with few exceptions, have said logic would compel them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The number of states allowing same-sex marriage has grown rapidly. As recently as October, just over one-third of the states permitted same-sex marriage.
According to UCLA's Williams Institute, there are an estimated 390,000 married same-sex couples in the United States.
President Barack Obama calls the decision "a big step in our march toward equality."
In a tweet, Obama says gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, "just like everyone else." He uses the hashtag #LoveWins that has become a refrain for the pro-marriage movement.
The leader of Democrats in the House calls the Supreme Court's ruling a "transformative" decision.
California Rep. Nancy Pelosi says the ruling "unequivocally affirmed that equal justice under the law means marriage equality" for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Americans.
She adds, "This decision is about creating a future where loving, committed families are able to live with dignity. This is about freedom. This is about love."
In the Senate, New York's Chuck Schumer is repeating the quote, "the arc of history is long and it bends in the direction of justice."
Schumer says, "Thank you to five Supreme Court heroes for helping bend it a little sooner."
Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush is affirming what he calls a faith-guided belief in traditional marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling. He's also echoing his familiar theme that states should make such decisions.
But the former Florida governor breaks with some of his party's social conservatives by saying: "I also believe we should love our neighbor and respect others including those making lifetime commitments."
He adds, "In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side."
Bush is a converted Roman Catholic and he typically says he supports traditional marriage. But he notably does not condemn same-sex marriage in the same way as some of his 2016 rivals.
In New Hampshire last month, he told voters there are indeed some single-issue voters but not as many as people believe.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was clearly prepared for the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Clinton fired off several tweets after the court issued its decision, and her Facebook and Twitter profile pictures are now a rainbow version of her "H'' campaign logo.
She says in one tweet, "Proud."
Another message shows a graphic of the country with all states colored in gold, showing marriage equality is now the law. She adds, "Our new favorite map."
In yet another Twitter message, she says "Proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality — & the courage & determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible."
There's division among several of the Republican candidates for president about the Supreme Court's decision.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has condemned the decision by what he calls "five unelected justices" who make up the ruling's 5-4 majority.
Santorum is a social conservative, and he says the court has redefined "the foundational unit that binds together our society, without public debate or input."
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweets that the ruling is "irrational" and "threaten religious liberty" and Congress must act.
Another Republican hopeful, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, also takes issue with the court redefining marriage, as she sees it. But she doesn't dispute the conclusion. She says she's always believed "all Americans should have equal benefits and rights."
Another rival, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, says he'll "respect the court's decision."
He calls himself "a proud defender of traditional marriage." But the senator says it's futile to attempt a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
Several gay couples have received marriage licenses in Atlanta since the decision came out. One of those couples, Petrina Bloodworth and Emma Foulkes, were wed in a morning ceremony and are the first same-sex couple to be married in Georgia's Fulton County. So says court clerk James Brock.
In Travis County, Texas, Gena Dawson and Charlotte Rutherford were the first same-sex couple in the state to receive a marriage license, within two hours of the ruling.
As well, a same-sex marriage license has been issued in Arkansas, another state that banned gay marriage until the Supreme Court weighed in. This was in Faulkner County, almost immediately after the ruling came out.