The Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage a constitutional right was the beginning of new societal norms; however, many in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community are still facing legal battles as state and local lawmakers hurry to address emerging legal issues. In just the first four months after the Supreme Court ruling, 96,000 same sex couples were married. Just as quickly as these marriages occurred, so too did legal issues emerge relating to parenting rights, marriage and death certificates, and property settlements in divorce.
The Supreme Court decision made same sex marriage legal, but it still left states and local municipalities in control when it came to decisions on how to interpret the law. Those states that embraced the ruling had an easier time implementing new statutes, while those opposed to the ruling still struggle with setting precedents over a year later. One of the most emotionally charged and pressing issues to emerge is the parenting rights of same sex couples.
While most states agree to put both individual names on the birth certificate of children born during a same sex marriage, there are some that still refuse. This excludes the non-birthing parent from their lifetime parental rights. Without a formal adoption of the child, the unnamed spouse will find it hard to demand their parental rights in the event of death or divorce.
In the case of divorce in a same sex marriage, judges are now saddled with the problem of deciding what is fair in terms of custody and property distribution while they struggle with the precedents that their decisions will set for future cases. New cases involving what names are to be included on death certificates are also creating an area of concern. In states that refuse to acknowledge the marital partner on the official death certificate, same sex spouses are facing legal limitations on their claims to inheritance and estate administration.
While many states have enacted laws that protect same sex couples from discrimination, many states still have not addressed this issue. Discrimination against gay spouses can take many forms, including refusal to provide business services. In some states, discrimination suits have been filed against bakeries that have refused to provide wedding cakes or social facilities that have refused to book venues for same sex marriage celebrations.
While federal laws under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect certain individuals from being refused services based on discriminatory reasons such as race, religion, sex, or age, federal law does not yet provide protection for same sex couples. Merchants and service providers in certain states still have the right to refuse service to those that violate their moral or religious beliefs, leaving the market open for some to legally refuse services to gay couples. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 200 new laws pertaining to same sex marriage have been introduced in 32 states in the past year.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Divorce Services for Same Sex Couples
If you or someone you know is considering the dissolution of a same sex marriage, the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Our professional team is well versed in all areas of divorce laws, particularly those pertaining to same sex marriage.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson proudly serving clients throughout Maryland including Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, including the townships of Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.