On June 26, 2015, the United States became the twenty-first country to legalise same-sex marriage. This followed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges where the court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses within the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. What does this mean for you?
Marriage between same-sex couples is legal cross all states. After decades of litigation and activism the court ruled that same-sex couples are able to marry and their marriages are to be deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between people of the opposite sex. Every individual will be able to express their identity and be protected by the American Constitution.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” (NY Times)
That means same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits and are able to widely adopt children regardless of what state they live in. There is still however some questions around whether individual church leaders are required to preform same-sex unions. Couples can have their marriage made official in the registers office, however, they may still have difficulty if they are looking for a religious ceremony.
Requirements for a marriage licence:
- You must both be over 18 years of age (in some states lower with the consent of a parent).
- A marriage license is issued by the county clerk or clerk of the court (along with a fee).
- Both parties must appear in person at the time the license is obtained.
- Present proper identification (typically a drivers license).
- Proof of the termination of any prior marriages by death, judgment of dissolution (divorce) or annulment.
- Sufficient mental capacity (usually determined as the ability to enter into a contract). It requires that both people want to consent to the marriage and that you understand what it means to be married. If you cannot understand through mental illness or factors such as drugs or alcohol, you cannot get married.
- The couple must not be close blood relatives.
- A marriage license in the US fall under the jurisdiction of the state in which the ceremony was performed.
Marriages are now being booked all across the states. Some offices, such as the Wayne County clerk's office in Detroit, will be holding mass wedding ceremonies to accommodate the increase of marriages.
Unfortunately, Australia still has a way to go. Our government needs follow in America's footsteps like we do in so many other areas. Read Adam's article on same-sex marriage in Australia. Or read Alex's article about a celebrity same-sex wedding and some stats around Aust/NZ weddings. Luckily we do have NZ on our doorstep and they are very progressive with their same-sex marriage laws.
The future of gay marriage has long been in question in Australia and America. Friday's verdict puts us one step closer. The question will quickly be come what it means to oppose same-sex marriage, rather than support it.
Countries That Recognise Same-Sex Marriage
Some of the other countries that recognise same-sex marriage are:
- New Zealand, 2013
- Uruguay, 2013
- Denmark, 2012
- Argentina, 2010
- Portugal, 2010
- Iceland, 2010
- Sweden, 2009
- Norway, 2009
- South Africa, 2006
- Spain, 2005
- Canada, 2005
- Belgium, 2003
- The Netherlands, 2000
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Sources: CNN, NY Times, ABC.net.au & The Guardian