Same-Sex Marriage: The Impact Of Windsor In America
- June 27, 2014
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The years 2013 and 2014 have ushered in great social and cultural change with regard to the status of same-sex marriage throughout America due in large part to the decision in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). One year ago this week the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark Windsor case which struck down The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional and essentially held that gay and lesbian people in the United States should be offered the same rights and respect under the law that heterosexual people currently enjoy. This decision has had a profound impact on the status of marriage equality in America. DOMA was passed by Congress in 1996 and functioned to define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman only – in the eyes of the federal government. After DOMA‘s passage, gay and lesbian married couples were officially denied all of the federal recognition and benefits that were afforded to straight couples who were married. When the Windsor case was filed in 2010, only five (5) states and Washington D.C. allowed same-sex marriage. When the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case, twelve (12) states allowed LGBT people to marry. Today, nineteen (19) states, as well as Washington D.C., recognize same-sex marriages along with the federal government. Currently, 44% of the population of the United States have the right to marry a same-sex partner if they choose to do so. This reflects a remarkably fast cultural shift across this nation – a shift that will have long lasting effects on the legal atmosphere for decades to come. At present, there are many other states’ courts and legislatures that are deciding issues regarding marriage equality and there may be even more states that recognize same-sex marriage by the end of this year. The rolling trend toward marriage equality in America is undeniable. Therefore, gay and lesbian couples who are contemplating marriage in New Jersey or any other state that now recognizes marriage equality should educate themselves on their new rights and legal responsibilities, especially if they were previously joined in a civil union or domestic partnership. If you are a gay or lesbian couple who plan on seeking a legal marriage, filing for a same-sex divorce or would like more information regarding same-sex divorce it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before proceeding. For more information about same-sex marriage, same-sex divorce, same-sex relationship dissolution, equitable distribution, alimony, custody, visitation, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and it is in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.