Ann Vardeman reads Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s words during the wedding of Chris Ernt and Jamie Lawler at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater, Minn. on July 11, 2015.

Ann Vardeman reads Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s words during the wedding of Chris Ernt and Jamie Lawler at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater, Minn. on July 11, 2015.

When Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion legalizing same-sex marriage, it’s unlikely that he intended to compose a preface for wedding vows. Yet his conclusion has become just that.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” he wrote in June for the court’s 5-4 majority. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.