BY RICHARD A. ROANE

The legal and practical implications of same-sex relationships.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584; (2015), that the U.S. Constitution requires all states to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex, and further, that all states must issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples who apply for such licenses. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority in a five-to-four ruling, finding that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry as guaranteed by both the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. For same-sex couples who were married in a jurisdiction that recognized and allowed same-sex marriage and who were living in either a recognition state or one of the 13 prohibition states, their marriages are now recognized under state law. In addition to recognizing these marriages, all states now must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply to marry. This new recognition means: • These marriages will be recognized throughout the United States, in all states, territories, possessions, and Washington, D.C., plus the 20 (at time of writing) other countries recognizing same-sex marriage. Recognition by certain Native American tribes is restricted. (See “Native American Tribes: More Exceptions on page 14.) • Children born during these marriages should have two legally recognized parents based on the “parental presumption,” regardless of gender or biological connection. • Family law courts should be available to same-sex married couples for resolving issues in dissolution (divorce), custody, child support, spousal support, and property division cases—literally all issues available to heterosexual couples.

 

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