Marriage in the (Dis)united States

Only one thing is certain the wake of the Supreme Court arguments about same-sex marriage, and that is that nothing is certain about what the high court will decide. And it looks like the decision could raise as many questions as it answers.

Most observers do not believe that the high court will create a right to gay marriage in the 41 states that do not permit it, but there seems to be some confusion about what, “practically speaking, a ruling that stopped short of legalizing gay marriage in 50 states would mean.”

Here’s where the fun begins. If the Supremes strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines a marriage as the union of a man and a woman, observers wonder will it create “legal chaos” (and work for more lawyers) as the federal government determines (or tries to determine) which marriages to recognize where.

This could become very interesting.  As mentioned, 41 states doe not recognize same-sex marriages; two (Wyoming and Arizona) recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages for divorce purposes; six (California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and Delaware) recognize out-of-state same sex marriages as equal to in-state civil unions; one (New Mexico) recognizes out-of-state same sex marriages for all purposes; and nine permit same-sex marriages and recognize out-of-state ones.


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