In July, two Key West residents prevailed in a same-sex marriage case in a Florida district court. In that case, Monroe Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia - similar to other judges -- characterized the ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately issued a stay on Judge Garcia's decision. When the men asked the appellate court to lift the automatic stay, the appellate court responded with a firm denial.
It was the couple's second attempt to lift the stay.
Consequently, Judge Garcia's ruling only applies to the residents of Monroe Count.
Update on the Status of Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.
So far, same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Same-sex marriages continue to be banned in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming.
These are the states where judges ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and yet state attorney generals have issued stays: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Colorado allows civil unions. In a civil union, couples enjoy many of the rights of a married couple. However, they are unable to enjoy a number of benefits, including Social Security benefits upon the death of a spouse.
Same-Sex Marriage Rulings Across the United States
Since January of this year, there have been numerous rulings on the issue of gay marriage. Here is a summary of some of the notable cases.
The Fight for Gay Marriage in Utah Continues
In January, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked same-sex marriage in Utah and sent the case back to an appellate court. In the space of about three weeks, 1,000 gay marriages were performed.
In June, the U.S. Appeals court struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage in a major ruling. A federal appeals court ruled that the state had to recognize the gay marriages performed in January.
Finally, in July the U.S. Supreme Court handed Utah a delay in recognizing same-sex marriages that were performed during the three-week interval of late 2013 and early 2014. The struggle there continues.
Indiana and Colorado
A district judge struck down Indiana's same-sex marriage ban in June. In Colorado, a judge struck down Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage but then stayed his decision. As a result, gay couples there can form civil unions but aren't yet allowed to marry.
Battle Continues in Oklahoma
A federal judge in this state made headlines in January when he said that the states gay-marriage ban was "an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit." In July, an appellate court upheld his decision but there is a pending appeal from the state.
Do you have questions about custody, guardianships, children's issues, spousal support or same-sex unions? If so, call me or schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of James V. Sansone at 707-623-1875or contact me by email. You can find additional information on family law, children's issues, spousal support,domestic violence as well as a list of resources you'll find helpful on our website.