While the state of Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages, gay couples in our state and throughout the country will still have their eyes on the U.S. Supreme Court as it weighs in for the first time on gay marriage. The high court has agreed to rule on two items. One is a ballot measure in California that bans same-sex marriage, and the other is the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between people of the opposite sex.
The justices agreed to take another look at DOMA after two appeals courts ruled that the law inequitably treats married same-sex couples. In particular, the law prevents married gay couples from receiving the federal tax breaks afforded to opposite-sex married couples.
Since the recent approval of gay marriage in three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — and a rejection of an anti-gay-marriage amendment in Minnesota, the movement in favor same-sex marriage rights has gained significant momentum.
As for the Supreme Court’s decisions, which are supposed to come down in June, the future is still uncertain. Justice Anthony Kennedy could be a swing vote in favor of backing gay marriage, given that a couple of his rulings, one of which was in Texas, protected gay rights. However, as an article in Bloomberg points out, neither of those decisions was about marriage.
In the meantime, many same-sex couples in California will have to wait for word from the high court before going forward with marriage. Over 18,000 gay couples were already married there when Proposition 8, the ballot initiative, was passed.
If gay couples in the Austin-area would like to learn more about domestic partnerships and other aspects of family law, then our Austin family law site is there to help. Our firm helps same-sex couples in a variety of legal matters.
Source: Bloomberg, “Gay Marriage Gets Supreme Court Review for the First Time,” Greg Stohr, Dec. 7, 2012