The court first held that same-sex couples are similarly situated with opposite-sex married couples even though they cannot have children together because they "are in committed and loving relationships, many raising families" and "official recognition of their status provides an institutional basis for defining their fundamental relational rights and responsibilities." The court believed society would benefit "from providing same-sex couples a stable framework within which to raise their children and the power to make health care and end-of-life decisions for loved ones, just as it does when that framework is provided for opposite-sex couples."
Imagine: actually thinking about the welfare of gay citizens as equal members of society. What a concept. There's more:
Since marriage is "designed to bring a sense of order to the legal relationships of committed couples and their families" the court believed the only reason the law could treat same and opposite-sex couples differently is their "sexual orientation." The court held the statute classifies on this basis even though the statute does not mention orientation because "civil marriage with a person of the opposite sex is as unappealing to a gay or lesbian person as civil marriage with a person of the same sex is to a heterosexual." The current law, the court said, prevents gay or lesbian people from "simultaneously fulfill[ing] their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain[ing] the civil status and attendant benefits granted" by the marriage law.
The court held that sexual orientation discrimination should be subject to heightened scrutiny because (1) gays and lesbians have been the victims of discrimination; (2) no other state courts have found orientation relevant to a person's ability to contribute to society and other state statutes treat sexual orientation as irrelevant; (3) sexual orientation is "central to personal identity" and "highly resistance to change"; (4) and gays and lesbians lack political power as evidenced by their failure to convince a legislature to redefine marriage.