“Marriage bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”
-Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, writing for the majority in Goodridge v. the State of Massachusetts Dept. of Health (2003), the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.