Based on recent Supreme Court decisions, same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states as of 2015 after Obergefell v. Hodges. It took many years to finally reach this decision, as certain individual states over time had banned same-sex marriage, while other states had legalized it. For a while, to get married, same-sex couples who lived in a state where same-sex marriage was illegal would drive across state lines to get married. After the landmark court case in 2015, same-sex spouses have the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex married couples, including tax relief, emergency medical decision-making, spousal benefits, inheritance rights, etc.
Domestic partnership and civil unions are a different story — after same-sex marriage was legalized, there was less of a need for these marriage alternatives, however, they are still an option in some states. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are legal partnerships that provide some of the rights and benefits of marriage. Some states simply replaced these legal partnerships with same-sex marriage when it was legalized, while others still offer these rights for those who wish to remain unmarried for whatever reason.
Even before the Supreme Court made gay marriage federally legal nationwide, Florida passed state legislature that allowed for same-sex marriages and rights. Nevertheless, the same debate around domestic partnerships and civil unions continues as state and city officials decide whether or not employers should still be offering domestic partnership benefits. According to Equality Florida’s executive director Nadine Smith, “We were fighting for the freedom to marry, not the requirement to marry.” Overall, many couples have chosen not to get married for various reasons, and it is best to keep all of these legal options available.
The Law Office of Mark E. Sawicki, P.A. proudly helps the LGBTQ community in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties obtain same-sex marriage licenses. Choose a state bar licensed attorney like Mark E. Sawicki when choosing your Florida legal representation. Contact us today for a free consultation!