On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court handed down two cases of import, particularly to same-sex couples. Those cases were United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. I blogged about those cases shortly after they were handed down.
Windsor held that the federal government must recognize a same-sex marriage if that marriage is recognized in the state in which the parties reside. Perry found that those seeking to uphold California’s Proposition 8 did not have standing. Thus, in Perry, the Court did not decide on the merits and let the District Court decision (which held that California’s Proposition 8 was unconstitutional) stand.
Since June 26, some have argued that the District Court decision by Vaughan Walker applied only to those residents in the Northern District of California and not those in the rest of the state. The California Supreme Court appears to have settled that issue. Here is a link to the Los Angeles Times article about the case.
In O’Connor v. Tobits, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that ERISA spousal rights extended to a married same-sex couple living in Illinois. The couple’s valid same-sex marriage in Canada is recognized in Illinois as a civil union.
In Obergfell v. Kasich, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio held that Ohio must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple who were legally married in Maryland. Ohio recognizes marriages performed in other states, even if those marriages would not have been valid in Ohio, such as a marriage of first cousins.
Many issues still remain regarding how the federal government will treat married same-sex couples residing in states which do not recognize their marriage. But, we are slowly moving toward greater clarity.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555