Same Sex Marriage now Legal in the US

A Supreme Court Ruling in the US that was delivered on the 26th June 2015 has deemed same sex marriage legal in all states of the US and means that all US states must grant marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples and recognise marriages that have taken place in other states. This is a massive leap forward for America where same sex couples have been fighting for same sex marriage for years.

America has always had independent state laws on same sex marriage. Massachusetts and California have laws permitting same sex marriage along with 34 other states, many changing their laws after high profile cases concerning this issue.

The case of United States v Windsor is the ruling that changed the law of America. It deemed that restricting the U.S federal interpretation of “marriage” to only heterosexual couples was unconstitutional.  After the ruling, George Harris and Jack Evans who have been together for over 55 years were the first couple to be married in Dallas. Jack Evans commented “People in my generation considered homosexuality a sin and a disease. Young people today don’t care,”

The effect of the ruling is that the remaining states will now have to issue licences, although it is unclear how long they have to comply with the court’s ruling, with reports stating Court Clerks were offering licences within an hour of the ruling. It will also change how medical insurance works for American Citizens as well as their tax benefits and will alter how probate laws are dealt with in America. These are long term effects that will be witnessed over time.

There has been a mixed reaction to this ruling with some people being in favour and some not. Those in support have shown this through social media by making pictures in a rainbow colour and using the Gay Pride colours on their pages. President Obama was one who showed support for the ruling and hailed it a “victory for American democracy”.

The UK legalised same sex marriage in a bill passed through Parliament in June 2013. The legislation came into force in March 2014 and the first same sex marriage took place on the 29th March 2014 with a further 1,409 marriages taking place between 29th March 2014 and the 30th June 2014.

Emery Johnson Astills will be present at the Leicester Pride Event that takes place in September 2015. If you or anyone you know wishes to discuss any aspect of family law please contact us at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or at our Loughborough office on 01509 610312.