Gay Marriage and Domestic Partnerships

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

What Is the Current Status of Same-Sex Couples?

At first, gay couples were able to legally enter into a union of same-sex marriage only in the states of Massachusetts and Oregon. This has changed, and there are now 19 states, and the District of Columbia, that allow same-sex marriages.

As of 2014, same-sex marriage will be legal in:

Note that, in December 2013, Utah ruled its ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. On January 6, 2014, this decision has been stayed pending appeal. Please consult a local attorney if you live in Utah and have any questions concerning you state’s current laws.

What Is the Federal Defense of Marriage Act?

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) denied federal recognition of gay marriages and accordingly all federal rights available to married couples. The Act defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and gave each state the right to refuse recognition of same-sex marriage licenses.  However, the Act did not prohibit states from allowing gay marriages, nor does it obligate states to recognize gay marriages from other states.


In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional. Same-sex married couples can now receive federal benefits.

What Are Some Rights a Gay Partner May Acquire from Marriage?

Marriage, or legal relations which grant the same benefits as marriage, confers certain rights. Such rights include, but are not limited to:

Should I Consult an Attorney?

Each state varies as to their recognition of same sex couples and their respective rights. Therefore, if you are involved in a same sex relationship, it is wise to consult with an attorney when planning out a life together with your partner.

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Last Modified: 06-12-2014 12:24 PM PDT

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