Thursday, March 26, 2015

Here is an updated civil marriage map.  As you can see, most of the country now allows same-sex couples to marry.  The map though has a lot of legal quirks that are not shown.  For example, a Federal judge ruled Alabama's marriage ban was a violation of the US Constitution.

Marriage licenses were issued and then stopped by a contravening order of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Any basic understanding of American law knows that Federal law trumps state statutes that in turn trump local ordinances.  So, the AL Supreme Court ruling is likely illegal.  (Note:  Arkansas just passed a law limiting civil rights to the state's statutes.  It effectively overturns a local ordinance in Eureka Springs that banned sexual orientation discrimination.)

Marriage has been legal in Idaho since last year, but this month the Idaho House passed a resolution that any judge ruling the state's marriage ban is unconstitutional should be impeached.  Idaho is giving Alabama a run in terms of swimming against the tide of history...and the law.

Only a handful of counties in Missouri issue marriage licenses but the state recognizes such marriages.

Across the border in Kansas, clerks issue marriage licenses but the state does not recognize these marriages.

And Oklahoma is trying to pass a law that would get rid of marriage licenses altogether.  Instead couples would get a certificate of marriage from a minister, priest or rabbi and file it with their county clerk.  Thus clerks would not have to issue marriage licenses.  If you are an atheist or do not want a religious marriage, you would get an affidavit of a common law marriage (which some states do not recognize).  If passed, it is likely to create huge headaches for Oklahoma couples and end up in the courts.

Court cases in the 8th, 5th, 11th and 1st circuits (Puerto Rico is in the 1st circuit) continue to slowly wind their way through the courts.  These lawsuits may be moot, however, since the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on this issue in June.

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