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November 11, 2016 4:17 pm

A Few Quick Answers on Marriage and Parenting in the Wake of the Election

Following this week's presidential election we know that many of you have questions about the future of LGBTQ rights and protections. Here are a few initial answers to questions we've received about marriage and parenting. In the coming weeks and months we'll have more resources to share. 

Is my existing marriage safe? Is my right to marry in the future secure?

If you are legally married to a spouse of the same sex, your marriage is secure from any attack by the government.The law is quite clear that a valid marriage cannot be undone by any government effort to change the marriage laws.

As to your right to marry in the future, there is no reason to think that the right to marry that was affirmed by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in June 2015 will be reversed. The Supreme Court only rarely overturns its constitutional decisions because it creates stability and respect by generally binding itself to its prior decisions. Moreover, at the moment, the Justices who supported marriage equality in Obergefell remain on the Supreme Court. Finally, the Court is also attuned to the opinion of American citizens; and it knows that a large majority of Americans now support marriage equality.

Will the federal government continue to respect my marriage – for federal taxes, Social Security, civil service retirement, immigration, etc.?

Yes. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) with the Windsor decision in June 2013, the federal government has been obligated to treat all marriages – same-sex and different-sex – the same for all purposes under federal law. The election does not change that.

Even assuming there was some successful effort by Congress in the next several years to reinstate DOMA (or the discrimination embodied in DOMA in some other legislation), it is very unlikely that the Supreme Court would overturn the Windsor decision for the same reasons it is unlikely to overturn the marriage equality decision Obergefell.

Will my rights and status as a parent be impacted? Will my ability to do a second-parent adoption be impacted?

No. By and large, issues of parental status and adoption are matters of state law and are not impacted by changes in Presidential administrations.

If you have a specific legal question or concern, reach out to us at www.GLADAnswers.org

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