Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Friday, the nation remember the historic decision.
Former South Bend Mayor and one of the first openly gay presidential candidates, Pete Buttigieg, tweeted, "Five years ago today, by the grace of a single vote on the Supreme Court, the freedom to marry became real for millions of us. This is why government matters: it shapes our lives, and it is personal."
Before the ruling, 36 states and the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriage in some form. But with the historic 5-4 vote, the highest court in the nation ruled that same-sex marriage should be recognized under federal law.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," the Obergefell v. Hodges decision said. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were... It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage."
"Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Following the decision, celebrations across the United States erupted, with phrases like "love is love" and "love prevailed" marking the moment. Crowds gathered in front of the Supreme Court and in front of the Stonewall Inn -- the site where riots began in 1969 and which became a landmark in the LGBTQ movement.
As time progressed, support for same-sex marriage increased throughout the United States, and policies and laws began to change. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. Then, seven years later, the Defense Department ended its policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," allowing gay and bisexual soldiers to openly serve in the military. Finally, in 2015, the landmark Supreme Court decision was delivered.
From the Rose Garden at the White House that day, former president Barack Obama gave remarks.
"Today, we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect," Obama said.
Leaders continue to recognize the importance of the decision five years later.
Obama, referring to Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, wrote on Twitter Friday that "Jim’s courage and persistence helped change America for the better. And so did every American who marched, organized, stood up, came out—or changed their own heart because they love someone who did. Happy anniversary, everybody."
"Five years after the Supreme Court declared that marriage is a right of all people, regardless of who you are or whom you love, the love and commitment of countless LGBTQ couples & families enriches our communities and our country. #LoveIsLove" wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet Friday.
Former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden took to Instagram. "Five years ago today, marriage equality became the law of the land — and our nation moved one step closer to our founding promise of liberty, justice, and equality for all. We’ve never fully lived up to that promise, but we’ve never stopped trying. Each new generation carries on the work to push us closer to those highest ideals. It’s never a rout. It’s always a fight. But eventually, the American ideal will win out."
"Five years ago today, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality the law of the land. As we celebrate, we recommit to our fight for LGBTQ rights, standing on the shoulders of the advocates who got us this far. Let’s keep going" New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote on Twitter.
Fred Karger, the first openly gay major-party presidential candidate who ran for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election, called plaintiff Jim Obergefell a "hero" on Twitter.
Billie Jean King, pro-tennis player turned activist, is now considered to be a feminist and lesbian icon. She noted the day by saying on Twitter, "love always wins!"
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., in addition to recognizing the five-year anniversary, tweeted, "we honor the decades of activism that laid the groundwork for the Court’s marriage equality ruling - and we recommit ourselves to fighting for dignity and equality for all."
The Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, James Clyburn, D- S.C., wrote on Twitter, "we continue to fight for equal protections for the LGBTQ+ community."
Nearly five years after granting gay and lesbians the right to marry, the Supreme Court expanded LGBTQ rights once again this year, on June 15. In a 6-3 vote, the court ruled that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under federal civil rights law.
ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Kiara Brantley-Jones contributed to this report.