The U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Same-Sex Marriage is Guaranteed by the Constitution

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a decision many all over the country have been waiting to hear for a very long time. In split 5-4 decision, the justices decided that our Constitution guarantees the right of marriage for every American, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

In the court's decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote about the importance of marriage as an institution: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family." He also wrote about the resistance the LGBT community has long faced in the effort to have their marriage rights recognized: "It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it... They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

President Obama spoke that same day, calling the decision a "victory for America." He, too, cited the long journey activists have faced in pursuit of a Supreme Court victory. "Progress on this journey often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back... And then sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."

Same-Sex Marriage in South Carolina

South Carolina legalized same-sex marriage in November 2014. However, now that the Supreme Court has made a federal, nationwide ruling, current and future South Carolina same-sex couples now have access to marriage benefits that were previously prohibited.

New federal marriage benefits available to same-sex couples include:

  • Social security benefits
  • Veteran and military benefits
  • Federal employment benefits

These, and possibly other tax considerations, could significantly change how divorce or other family law issue could proceed. At Harling & West, LLC, we are well-versed in these matters and know what the stakes are for the couples and families that depend on us. We are prepared to further extend our services to Lexington same-sex couples and families who need assistance in understanding their new federal marriage benefits and how they could affect the outcome of a current or anticipated legal issue.

If you are a same-sex couple grappling with a family law or divorce issue, then we invite you to contact us to speak to a dedicated Lexington family lawyer at our firm today.

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