Family Law & Same Sex Marriage

Marriage has been traditionally defined as personal relationship between a man and a women. The rights and obligations of married partners are controlled by state law. Some of the obligations of married persons can be changed by agreement before the marriage. These agreements are known a prenuptial agreements and in most jurisdictions are enforceable.

Since marriage is a status created by individual states, the rules governing the marital relationship will often vary from state-to state. In determining which state law controls, it is important to find out the law of the state where the partners reside as well as the law of the state in which the couple was married.

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 US states.  Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy, wrote for the majority stating: “The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States.”

Constitutionally, as a fundamental right, for a state to restrict this right, the state must show by clear and convincing evidence that the right interferes with a compelling state purpose.

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