On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a decision countless people have been waiting to hear for a very long time: the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. In a split 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that our Constitution guaranteed the right to marry to all Americans, sparking celebration in LGBT communities all over the country.
Speaking for the court's majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke passionately about the institution of marriage and what it has meant for same-sex couples to be denied this right for so long. "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions," he wrote in the decision. "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
President Obama was also quick to show his support of the decision. Later that day, he addressed a White House audience, calling the ruling a victory for America. "This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality," he said in his address. "In doing so, they have reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law; that all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love."
Same-Sex Marriage in California
Same-sex marriage has been legal in California since 2013. This new, national ruling, however, still affects those same-sex couples in states like ours that have passed marriage equality laws. Specifically, the Supreme Court decision gives these couples new access to federal marriage benefits that were previously prohibited.
New federal marriage benefits for same-sex couples include:
- Federal employment benefits
- Veteran and military benefits
- Social security lump-sum death benefits
- Social security spousal survivor benefits
- Social security retirement benefits
These benefits, plus other tax considerations, could change the circumstances of a same-sex couple about to marry or divorce. At Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC, I have been practicing family law for more than two decades. Now that the Supreme Court has made its ruling, I am excited to even further extend my insight and services to the individuals, couples, and families of our LGBT community who may be grappling with a legal issue.
You do not have to face this uncertain time without a proven and trusted Orange County family lawyer by your side. Contact my firm today.