Supreme Court Decisions Focus on Same-Sex Marriage

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed two cases before it concerning the rights of same-sex couples. The response of the court on these two issues was as follows:

  • United States v. Windsor The court ruled Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional and deprives citizens of their liberty under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The ruling in the case brought by New Yorker Edith Windsor extended federal benefits to same-sex couples in states where their marriage is recognized.
  • California Proposition 8 — A majority ruled the case was not before the court on proper grounds and declined to address the matter. The action left a trial court action in place, allowing California same-sex couples to marry.

As a result of the Windsor ruling, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that same-sex partners who paid taxes when their spouses passed away will receive refunds. In California, the state Supreme Court recently refused a second request to order county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

While the Supreme Court rulings provide support for the rolling movement toward legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, the court did not address the issue of lack of recognition of same-sex union in states where it is not legal.

In 2011, the Marriage Equality Act legalized same-sex marriage in New York. Regardless of the kind of marriage you need to end in New York, always seek experienced legal counsel.

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