How The Obergefell Decision Impacts North Carolina Residents

How The Obergefell Decision Impacts North Carolina Residents

In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage licenses were to be granted in all 50 states citing the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, licenses granted in states that already recognized same-sex marriage were to be recognized in all 50 states. While the decision made clear that same-sex marriage was legal in the United States, it raised an important question.

The question was whether or not spousal rights should be granted retroactively to those living in states that previously did not recognize same-sex marriages. Currently, only the Social Security Administration has said that it will grant benefits on a retroactive basis. However, an Alabama federal court and a Pennsylvania state court have previously ruled that the answer to that question should be yes.

Additionally, the Obergefell case may have some effect on employment law. In cases against Wal-Mart and Brookdale Senior Living, employees claim that they were denied benefits for their same-sex spouses. The EEOC has claimed that the companies have discriminated against employees based on their gender. The case against Brookdale Senior Living was sent to arbitration while the plaintiff in the Wal-Mart case is seeking class-action status

Although same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, same-sex divorce laws are still evolving. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to consult with an attorney prior to beginning the divorce process. The attorney might determine when assets became marital assets or property division purposes. It may also be possible to determine whether previous agreements between a same-sex couple have the same legal effect as prenuptial agreements. Like with heterosexual couples, a parent in a same-sex relationship may be granted custody and other parental rights to a child.


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