Back in October of 1971, the Baker v. Nelson case ended in a ruling that established that state law limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples did not violate the Constitution, and the decision was backed by the United States Supreme Court itself. Now, after some forty-odd years of LGBTQ activists fighting to have the ruling repealed, it has happened. On June 26th, 2015, in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, the Supreme Court has ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, citing the Fourteenth Amendment in particular.
The decision was slim, barely passing in a 5-4 vote among the justices. In fact, the narrow ruling is fairly representative of the people, as various recent polls suggest that about 40% of Americans are against the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage. Many who do not agree with this decision feel it infringes upon states’ rights or the freedom of the church.
All of the controversy has not deterred the people who do support the ruling, though. After the decision was made public, Justice Anthony Kennedy provided a summary of their reasoning behind legalizing same-sex marriage, including that they felt it gave same-sex couples “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
MARRIAGE LAWS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN, BUT WHAT ELSE IS CHANGING?
Immediately after the ruling, its supporters took to the streets, all across the country, but they were not all there to celebrate the newly expanded marriage laws. Many were actually pleased to find that they could now divorce their same-sex spouse, regardless of what state they were currently living in. Before the changes, same-sex couples in states that did not choose to recognize the legality of their union would also not let them file for divorce, effectively keeping them in a marriage that they wanted to dissolve.
Lawmakers will also have to consider other portions of family law that could be impacted by the changes. In particular, they will be reanalyzing matters concerned fathers’ rights and child custody, as these regulations tended to have a gender-based bias in the past. However, as of this posting, no major changes have been announced or predicted.
If you need help with family law issues in Michigan and believe some might have changed due to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, our Royal Oak divorce attorneys at Rasor Law Firm can help you. Call us toll-free at (248) 796-0334 to schedule a free initial consultation today.