Same-sex marriage now legal in USA

by Michelle McDermott on June 30, 2015

Michelle McDermott

In an historic landmark decision, the highest Court in the USA, the Supreme Court, has ruled that the country’s Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry. Prior to this decision, each of the 50 states could decide whether or not to allow same-sex couples to marry.

It was, however, a very close outcome with 5 out of the 9 Judges deciding that the Constitution guarantees due process and equal protection under the law, meaning that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. There are currently 13 state bans in place, whilst another state, Alabama, has contested a court ruling that lifted the ban there.

The plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, had brought the case before the Court. Mr Obergefell was a resident of Ohio who was not recognised as the legal widower of his late husband, John Arthur. I can only applaud and concur with his comments after the ruling that “It’s my hope that ‘gay marriage’ will soon be a thing of the past, and from this day forward it will simply be ‘marriage’”.

Naturally, there have been emotional reactions to the decision. One of the main criticisms of the outcome appears to be that 5 people in the whole country have decided on an issue where there are millions of different views. I can understand this criticism.

Contrast this with the approach in Ireland where its people recently decided in their Referendum to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The outcome resulted in 62% in favour and 38% against. Note the reference to ‘civil’ rights as opposed to ‘religious’ rights. Religious groups retain their ability to decide who they will marry.

Readers of my previous Blogs will know that I am very much in favour of removing any obstacles which prevent any person being able to marry whom they choose. For mine, its not so much an issue of gay rights, but simply of basic human rights. No matter what your religion, your colour, your race, your sexuality – everybody should have the right to marry the person of their choice.

Our Prime Minister is entitled to his personal views on the issue which are well known. I simply do not accept that his views are in alignment with the majority of the Australian population. If I am eventually proved wrong, so be it – but I will be very surprised if I am.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you find yourself in need of advice in relation to any family law issue.

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