Client Alert: Obergefell v. Hodges decision

June 26, 2015Article
Greenberg Glusker Client Alert

The Supreme Court this morning issued a historic ruling in four related cases addressing the constitutionality of same-sex marriage on the state level. The Court’s decision this morning addresses some of the key issues not addressed in the Court’s 2013 landmark ruling in Estate of Windsor, which had struck down as unconstitutional a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) denying federal marital benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married under state law. The Court’s 5-4 decisions today in Obergefell v. Hodges, DeBoer v. Snyder, Bourke v. Beshear and Tanco v. Haslam found that the equal protection rights granted by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution require states to license marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was lawfully licensed and performed in another state. While the Court’s decision today may not resolve all issues relating to the families formed by same sex marriage, such as adoption by same-sex couples or recognition of parental rights where children of the marriage are not adopted by both spouses, it eliminates the disparate treatment of marital status from state to state, which impacted the ability of same-sex married couples to freely change domicile.