Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Recognizes States' Right to Define Marriage and Issues not Resolved by United States v. Windsor

The Supreme Court ruled that states have a right to define marriage and the federal government application of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution (emphasis added):
...(b) By seeking to injure the very class New York seeks to protect, DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group. Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534–535. DOMA cannot survive under these principles. Its unusual deviation from the tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with federal recognition of their marriages...
Issues that arise from this ruling acknowledging "state definitions of marriage" and left unresolved include (partial list...will be updated):
  • If a state does not recognize same-sex marriages, does its courts have to extend judicial spousal privilege to a same-sex couple from another state?   
  • Will same-sex couples seeking divorce have to go to a state that recognizes same-sex marriage if they live in a state that doesn't?
  • Do same-sex married couples living in a state that doesn't recognize their marriage file two types of tax returns; married federal, individual state/local?
  • Are same-sex married couples not eligible for state retirement benefits available to opposite-sex married couples in a state that doesn't recognize the marriage?
  • 07/22/2013: Gay Couple Attempts to Force Ohio to Recognize Their Marriage
  • 07/29/2013: Spousal Privilege: Kentucky same-sex case to be landmark

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