Same sex marriage has been a frequent topic in the news recently. Statistics show views on the subject are changing. Pew Research reports that a very noticeable shift occurred around 2011, when more people polled in American supported rather than opposed same sex marriage for the first time in recent history. According to Wikipedia, In the United States, same-sex marriage is recognized by the federal government and has been legalized in 37 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 21 Native American tribal jurisdictions. More than 70% of the USA populations live in jurisdictions where same-sex couples can legally marry.
The opportunity for same sex couples to legally marry has been compared to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Many experts are predicting that within a short period of time, same sex marriage will be the law of the land throughout the entire United States. More and more judges are ruling that marriage is a fundamental right and soon, this right could be protected by federal law.
Advocates Moving Legal Approval Forward
The issue has recently received support from Theodor Olson, a former US solicitor general appointed under President George W. Bush, and Democrat activist David Boise. The pair’s goal is to advance the issue and argue that marriage discrimination is unconstitutional. They consider same sex marriage to be the defining civil rights issue of our current generation. Just recently in October 2014, the Supreme Court denied petitions to review several federal appeals cases that had ruled in favor of same sex couples in several states, including Utah. The decision resulted in the federal court ruling that same sex couples were constitutionally guaranteed a right to marriage.
Changes throughout the Country
Most recently on February 9, 2015, Alabama was in the spotlight concerning its same sex marriage laws. Same sex marriage had been banned by executive order in the state in 1996, which was later followed up by a law two years later. A state Constitutional amendment was approved by 81% of voters in the state in 2006. All of the bans were repealed in January 2015 by US District Judge Callie Granade. She ordered the state to recognize same sex marriages, placing a stay on her ruling until February 9 to allow the state to prepare. State Attorney General Luther Strange petitioned for an extension of the stay, but the Supreme Court declined to intervene. The incident allowed Alabama to become the 37th state to allow same sex marriage. State judges began issuing marriage licenses within hours of the decision and there were couples lined up outside of court houses throughout the state.
Future of Same Sex Marriage
Same sex marriages are still banned in Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Tennessee, and bans are under review in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, and Texas. The Supreme Court is preparing to hear additional cases on same sex marriage throughout the year, but most experts agree the trend will continue and it won’t be long until equal marriage rights are granted throughout the country.
Important Issues Still Exist
Although there are definite benefits and legal protections afforded by same sex marriage today, by no means, is same sex marriage afforded the total equalities of the existing protections for other marriages. Contrary to some thoughts, same sex marriage does not necessarily costs savings for same sex couples. It is important that you consult with an account to understand the dynamics of the impact of a same sex marriage because in actuality it could cost same sex couples more than they anticipated to be married. One example is with employee holding based upon health care deductions for health insurance could create a situation where as a result of the marriage, the person receiving the benefit could actually have to now pay back certain portions of benefits. In addition, many people have not contemplated what happens once couples decide to retire and possibly relocate. If you are in a state that recognizes same sex marriage, what happens if you decide to move to a state that does not recognize same sex marriage. If you are not in pay status for your retirement and social security benefits, this could impact whether the benefit afforded by legalized marriages flows to your partner in a state that does not recognize same, especially if you do not retire prior to moving there. In addition, it also creates questions and consequences with respect to children of a same sex marriage, whether they are born into the marriage after the marriage or adopted and whether a second parent adoption has been done. For states that do not recognize same sex marriage, if there is no second adoption, the non-named parent of the marriage may have no legal rights with respect to the children. These are just a few of the many questions that could arise from same sex marriages since it is not legalized and recognized nationwide. Sources: http://www.pewresearch.org/data-trend/domestic-issues/attitudes-on-gay-marriage/ http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/supreme-court-refuses-stay-alabama-sex-marriage-ban/ http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/10/06/3576337/the-supreme-court-just-quietly-made-marriage-equality-the-law-of-the-land-in-many-states/ http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/index.html