Two years have passed since Obergefell v. Hodges, and same-sex marriage is the law of the land. However, there is some resistance to the idea of changing the traditional family standard, and we still see negativity towards equal marriage. The road to equal marriage has been a challenging one but today everyone can get married and has the same rights, I guess that #LoveWins is a good way to put it.
One positive thing is that the country has changed since the first attempt to get recognition from the law in 1972, with Loving vs. Virginia. When the Supreme Court dismissed the claim because of the idea that people of the same sex might have a constitutional right to get married, was absurd, to say the least. Maryland followed and decided to ban gay marriage in 1973 after the court ruling, multiple attempts from gay couples to get marriage licenses happened. In the late 1980s, activists debated whether marriage rights should be at the forefront of the broader campaign for LGBT equality. In 1993, the Supreme Court in Hawaii ruled that denying same-sex marriage violated the Constitution, and then in 1996, a judge in Hawaii defended the right of same-sex marriage. Why? Because not doing so contradicts the 14th Amendment. Then, President Bill Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, this law defined marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, for the purpose of excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.
Then in 2004, The city of San Francisco begins marrying same-sex couples in an open challenge to California’s law, and New Mexico begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as their law does not mention gender. Portland, Oregon also begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A poll taken by the Washington Post shows that 51% of the country favors allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions. And, in 2015, the Supreme Court issued the landmark decision that stands until today, where everyone can get married without discrimination.
Today’s same-sex marriage and rights
Good news though it has taken 40 plus years and people have become more accepting of same-sex marriage, considering it now a civil right. Since 2015, with Obegerfell v. Hodges, Americans realized that the court is made for more than just applying timeless laws, it is also affected by the world around it and its evolution.
These are the rights that same-sex couples are entitled to since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision:
- The right to inherit from your spouse without a will;
- The right to get benefits under federal and state tax laws;
- The ability to make medical decisions for your spouse if he or she cannot do so;
- The right to be listed on birth certificates for your children;
- The right to be listed on your spouse’s death certificate;
- The right to request child custody and support;
- The ability to ask for spousal support if you legally separate or divorce;
- The right to obtain Social Security benefits as a spouse; and
- The right to family medical leave, family medical coverage, and other employment benefits
The road to this day has a remarkable story filled with challenges and bumps along the way but advocates and supporters kept on challenging the status quo to achieve the equal right to marry whomever you want. Just like Justice Kennedy said:
“Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.”
Do you have any questions about same-sex marriage? Let us know or Ask a Lawyer. We’re here to help. Happy Pride!