The Current Same-Sex Marriage Debate and Divide

by Norris Law Group on February 26, 2014

15989432_sOne hot-topic debate in this nation is currently same-sex marriage. Each state has weighed in on this debate in one form or another. Research compiled by CNN[1] and the organization Freedom to Marry[2] shows which states are on which side of the debate.

Six states have legalized same-sex marriage through the courts: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico. Three states allow same-sex marriage as a result of popular vote: Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Eight states legalized same-sex marriage through state law: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The District of Columbia has a law legalizing same-sex marriage. There are a few states that have legalized Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions: Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

On the other side, there are several states with either a constitutional or statutory ban on same-sex marriage. The states with a constitutional ban are: Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alaska. Only a few states have a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. These states are: Wyoming, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

usa_same_sex_marriage_mapAs with many hot topic legal and political issues, this dynamic changes almost daily. If you have read the news today, there will most likely be something new on this topic that is not mentioned in this article. As of February 19, 2014, these are the recent events:

  • The U.S. government expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, such as bankruptcy, prison visits, survivor benefits, and taxes.[3]
  • Currently, Utah and Oklahoma have cases scheduled before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.[4]
  • A case has been filed in Ohio District Court.[5]
  • The Texas District Court has a case in currently being argued in front of it.[6]
  • According to recent press releases, another case will be filed in Louisiana shortly.[7]
  • February 12, 2014, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s same-sex marriage ban.[8]
  • February 12, 2014, a U.S. District Federal Judge ordered Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages consecrated elsewhere.[9]
  • February 18, 2014, after being denied family coverage under the Affordable Healthcare Act, a Ohio couple filed a lawsuit because the state does not recognize their same-sex marriage.[10]
  • On February 18, 2014, four couples filed in Idaho to challenge the state’s constitutional amendment.[11]
  • February 19, 2014, Nine Colorado couples filed a lawsuit in the Denver District Court challenging Colorado’s constitutional amendment.[12]
  • During the week of February 24, 2014, a federal district judge will revisit a case challenging same-sex marriage in Michigan—the case originally started as an adoption case, but was broadened to challenge the same-sex marriage ban in Michigan.[13]
  • Pennsylvania’s Attorney General stated that she will not fight to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban.[14]
  • On February 13, 2014, a federal judge ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. To avoid the problem in Utah, a stay has been granted until the appellate process is completed.[15]
  • In January 2014, the Attorney General of Virginia issued a similar statement to his colleague in Pennsylvania.[16]
  • Nevada is currently in the court battle. The Attorney General and Governor stated on Monday, February 10, 2014, that they will not defend the same-sex marriage ban when it goes before a federal appeals court.[17]
  • Alaska’s Attorney General stated that he will defend Alaska’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. His decision to defend Alaska’s laws will not be based on federal district court decisions or appellate decisions that must still be reviewed by a higher court.[18]

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation. In the next installment, Coach Kim discusses how encouragement can make a big difference in your marriage.

[1] http://www.cnn.com/interactive/us/map-same-sex-marriage/

[18] http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/AG-to-continue-defending-same-sex-marriage-ban-5247448.php

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