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By: Scott Grossman on September 12th, 2016

Same Sex Marriage Becomes a Fundamental Right in the U.S.

For same sex couples throughout the nation, June 26, 2015, will forever be an important date in history. On that day, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling relating to the legalization of same sex marriage. While California has already seen changes with regard to same sex marriage and estate administration, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is making history as it means that same sex couples are now entitled to the same legal protections regardless of what state they live in.

An Overview of Obergefell v. Hodges

What happened that caused this case to end up before the justices of the Supreme Court? The following is an overview:

  • A same sex couple from Ohio, is married in the state of Maryland. The couples wedding takes place on July 11, 2013.
  • Maryland allowed for same sex marriage under its laws at that time, while Ohio did not.
  • In October 2013, one of the partners passed away.
  • At that time, the deceased spouse was domiciled in Ohio.
  • Despite having been legally married, the Ohio Department of Health refused to list the surviving spouse on the death certificate.

The U.S. Supreme Court Answers Two Key Questions:

  • Does the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  • Does the 14th Amendment require that a state must recognize the marriage between two people of the same sex, when it was lawfully licensed and performed in another state?

Ultimately, the Court ruled “yes” to both questions. In doing so, the Court held that the right to marry is a fundamental right of every person, and that it is unconstitutional for any state to ban same sex marriage. As a result of the historic ruling, all states must now recognize same sex marriage.

While estate administration in California has already changed with regard to same sex marriage, this ruling remains important in that it means that same sex marriage is recognized in every state throughout the country. Administering an estate after the death of a partner in any marriage, either same sex or opposite gender, can become a complicated process. Fortunately, we are here to help. We encourage you to learn more by checking out our client testimonials today.

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