Although the gay marriage ban in Florida was recently overturned so that same-sex couples can legally marry in the state, some same-sex couples may wonder what some of the impacts of this important change are and what the future holds for same-sex couples and married same-sex couples in Florida.
While no one can predict the future, the U.S. Supreme Court is now positioned to review the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans throughout the United States. The issue will be reviewed by the high court later in the spring and the decision is expected this summer. Although the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban in Florida, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals elsewhere in the U.S. has upheld the legality of same-sex marriage bans. The conflict in federal law prompted the Supreme Court to review the issue.
The Supreme Court will examine two questions. The first question is if the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution requires states to license marriages between parties of the same sex. The second question the high court will consider is if the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize marriages between same-sex couples lawfully obtained in a different state.
For now, local experts note that the circumstances in Florida remain unchanged. The Supreme Court could rule to leave the issue up to the states to decide for themselves, however, experts note that same-sex couples married while the ban is no longer legal will remain married even if the state reinstitutes the ban. If left up to the states, the issue will ultimately rest with the Florida Supreme Court.
Same-sex couples can currently marry in 36 states and in the District of Columbia. In total, 14 states remain wherein it is illegal for same-sex couples to marry. During this important time for same-sex couples in Florida, it is important to remember that family law issues, such as prenuptial agreements for example, can be useful for all couples contemplating marriage to consider. While no one knows exactly the path ahead, planning for a variety of future circumstances and considerations is one way in which family law helps to protect families of all types.
Source: SunSentinal, “Supreme Court to decide on same-sex marriage,” Dan Sweeney, Jan. 16, 2015