LGBT Attorneys – Same Sex Marriage and Divorce

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a monumental decision in Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that the denial of marriage licenses and recognition to same-sex couples violates both the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This decision now means that the United States has become the twenty-first and most populous country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. 

Ohio LGBT and Same Sex Marriage Law

Before the Obergefell decision, Ohio was one of thirteen states where same-sex couples could not obtain marriages licenses.  Even if such couples were successfully married in other states, they often had difficulty if they sought a divorce or dissolution in Ohio courts.  While some Ohio judges would entertain their divorce or dissolution matters, many would not.  Now it is clear that all Ohio judges must recognize marriages of same-sex couples where ever the marriage took place.

The Supreme Court decision did not, however have an effect on whether same-sex marriages can take place on Indian lands.  Congress, not our federal courts, has the exclusive legal authority over Indian country.  While some Indian tribes have acted specifically to recognize same-sex marriages, it is important to know what tribe is involved and what actions it has taken.

The changing attitudes of Americans have been dramatic.  Less than half believed gay and lesbian couples had a constitutional right to marry as recently as 2010 but a CNN poll on February 19, 2015 found that 63% had concluded that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.  Now it is the law of the land – not just a matter of differing opinions.  

The laws that govern property rights, benefits, and taxation as well as spousal survivor Social Security benefits all must now fully apply to same-sex couples.  Similarly, laws related to a power of attorney, to health care decision-making and to inheritance must all now provide equal protection for same-sex couples.

Gay and Lesbian Couple Rights

Clearly, if you are gay or lesbian and desire to be married, you have the right to do so in Ohio.  Moreover, you have equal rights and responsibilities in a wide range of legal matters that previously have been subject to significant doubt or which were simply not available to you.  If you are in a same-sex marriage and need to consider a divorce, dissolution or legal separation, you will need an experienced attorney who is very current on both past practices and the rapidly changing climate of today’s realities. 

The lawyers and staff at Edward F. Whipps & Associates have been closely following all recent developments and are fully prepared to discuss your situation with you.  If you would like to arrange a confidential initial consultation at a mutually convenient time, you may call our Columbus office at (614) 461-6006 or our Dublin office at (614) 461-6007.