Gay marriage: hot-button topic in states across the country

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

As noted in a recent media article discussing same-sex marriage, only one state in the country — North Dakota — has a prohibition on gay marriage that is not currently being legally challenged.

Illinois joined a growing number of states that recognize same-sex marriage relatively recently, with Gov. Pat Quinn signing off on legislation late last year. The Illinois bill providing for protection of same-sex couples is slated to take effect the first day of next month.

Neighboring Missouri is a different case, with same-sex couples in the state continuing to be legally differentiated in many respects from married heterosexual couples. A driving concern behind most initiatives that seek to erase distinctions between “straight” and gay partnerships is, of course, that couples be treated similarly with respect to important family law matters like child custody, visitation and property division.

In order for that to happen, same-sex marriages must first be legally recognized and perceived as being on par with heterosexual marriages in all key aspects. Along with a high number of other states, Missouri has pending legislation that challenges marital distinctions based on sexual lines and demands full recognition of same-sex marriages.

A powerful and growing trend in favor of recognizing gay marriages is clearly in evidence across the country in the wake of last year’s United States Supreme Court decision striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Laws barring same-sex marriage have been rescinded in many states following that seminal ruling. As of the date of this post entry, 19 states and the District of Columbia now recognize gay marriage.

We will keep readers posted on material updates that occur nationally regarding this topic, including developments concerning judicial matters in Missouri.

Source: Quincy Herald-Whig, “Legal fight over gay marriage spreads to 30 states,” Carson Walker and Brady McCombs (Associated Press), May 22, 2014

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