Nearly a year ago the Supreme Court of the United States issued its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This decision was the culmination of six different lawsuits from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, involved multiple same-sex couples, several children, a widower, a funeral director, and an adoption agency, and came after years of appeals in multiple federal courts. Until Obergefell, it was the “wild west.” Marriage laws fall under the purview of the individual states, and each state did something different. Some allowed same sex marriage. Some did not allow same-sex marriage to be performed in the state, but would recognize valid marriages from another state. Others, like Ohio, had gone to great lengths to not only ban same-sex marriages within the state, but also to forbid recognition of otherwise-valid marriages performed elsewhere. The result of years of such a hodgepodge of divergent law was that a large swath of the population was left with an uncertain marital status, unclear parental rights, and very real practical issues related to issues like divorce, inheritance, adoption, bankruptcy, tax filing, and on and on.
Ultimately, the majority opinion of the United States’ Supreme Court was that same-sex couples are guaranteed the right to marry, and that laws like Ohio’s were clear violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and equal protection under the law. A tremendous victory to many, and a terrible upset to others, Ohio law changed overnight. Moving forward, the rights are much clearer. But, for the enormous number of families who got caught in the quagmire, even post-Obergefell there is still work to be done. Call to speak with a Zashin & Rich lawyer today about your situation. We have the tools to help you navigate this legal minefield and bring your matter to a resolution.