The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefill v. Hodges in 2015 would alter the landscape of American society forever, and thus changing the rights of gays throughout the United States to get married. Justice Kennedy stated in the decision that marriage is "a keystone of our social order," and the 5-4 Supreme Court voted effectively prohibited individual states from banning same-sex marriages.
This historic ruling opened the door for homosexual married couples to claim the same numerous benefits awarded to heterosexual couples. Before the U.S. Supreme Court decision there were only 19 states and the District of Columbia that recognized same-sex marriage. In 2013 the Court would declared parts of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional and paved the way for married same-sex couples in these states to claim the same protections and benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. However, the 2013 decision did not require states that did not recognize same-sex marriage to begin doing so.
It's important to understand that by allowing same-sex couples to get married, protections that were once out of their reach were now afforded to them. We don't tend to think these protections are important, but as you will see these benefits can and have a profound impact on our daily lives.
Legal Rights Accorded to Married Couples
According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the benefits provided by the federal government to legally married couples:
Many state-level benefits mirror those that are available at the federal level, but states offer additional rights.
Marriages vs. Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships
Many of the states that did not recognized same-sex marriages before the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decisions nonetheless permitted registered domestic partnerships and civil unions between same-sex couples. It's important to note that these arrangements are not the same as marriage. They often convey limited, similar rights as marriage, but you might find that you don't enjoy the full scope of benefits afforded by the 2015 decision unless you and your partner take steps to legally marry.
Read the full list of legalized marriage benefits.
There are many reasons to get married, you have to understand what legal rights that you have, and remember once married and for some reason it doesn't work out, you just can't "walk" away from the marriage. Gay marriage is not for everyone, and that's OK, it's a personal decision!
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Source: Office of the General Counsel. U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO/OGC-97-16. Letter. Jan. 31, 1997