Image of two men getting married representing same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex Marriage: Security and Limitations

On June 26, 2015, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual community (LGBTQIA+) celebrated the right for same-sex couples to enter legally-binding marriages in the U.S. In a narrow 5-4 split, the Supreme Court affirmed that states banning same-sex couples from marrying were violating the 14th amendment and infringing on the rights of LGBTQIA+ Americans. Now, six years after Obergefell v. Hodges became the law of the land, this article seeks to detail exactly what transpired in 2015 and what limitations and threats still apply to LGBTQIA+ people’s right to marry.

Same-Sex Marriage: The Limitations

While the Supreme court did affirm the right for LGBTQIA+ people to enter into legally-binding same-sex marriages, the issues of wedding-based discrimination have remained contentious. As recently as 2018 and 2019, the Supreme Court has had to adjudicate whether business owners could use their religious beliefs as grounds to refuse service to LGBTQIA+ couples. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the fundamental constitutionality of these issues, choosing instead to narrowly dissect each case in order to provide a one-time decision that does not seek to establish a precedent.

In addition to challenges from business owners, same-sex marriage also faces religious pressure. Due to the potential interference with first amendment rights, the Supreme Court has given a wide berth to the issue of religious figures refusing to sanction same-sex marriages. 

How Secure is Same-Sex Marriage?

While Obergefell v. Hodges made it illegal to outlaw same-sex marriage, not all states have laws acknowledging the legitimacy of LGBTQIA+ marriages. Thirteen states lack laws that explicitly allow same-sex marriage. Those states are:

  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Theoretically, if Obergefell v. Hodges were to be overturned, these 13 states may no longer recognize the union of LGBTQIA+ couples. Additionally, since there is no federal law explicitly allowing same-sex marriage, the only thing holding LGBTQIA+ marriages as legal is the precedent of a single Supreme Court case which could be overturned with a sufficiently persuasive legal argument. 

If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community seeking to enter into legal matrimony, you may need the help of a divorce & family law attorney. An experienced divorce & family law attorney can help you and your partner navigate the necessary legal steps to craft an airtight marriage contract. The best divorce & family law attorneys can be found at Attorney at Law.

At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys and law firms allows us to match you with a divorce & family law attorney in your area. Our partners have the resources, legal expertise, and experience to help you navigate the process of same-sex marriages. 

In addition to a distinguished case record, our partners also excel in client care. Marriage can be a stressful time, and that’s why our partners prioritize taking care of the details and keeping you in the loop. 

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a free, no-obligation consultation and assert your marital rights. 

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