US Supreme Court Rules Same Sex Marriage

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The US Supreme Court has ruled that same sex couples have a fundamental right to marriage protected under the US Constitution. In Obergefell et al v. Hodges, the Court found Constitutional protection under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. The vote was 5-4 with extensive dissenting opinions. As expected, Justice Kennedy was the deciding swing vote and authored the decision. 

States must recognize valid marriages performed in other states. Thus, the “state of celebration” vs. “state of residence” issue is no longer valid in determining the employment rights and benefits available to same sex couples. All benefits and rights provided to opposite sex couples are available to same sex couples. Employment policies, procedures and handbooks should be modified to be consistent with this ruling. 

As to religious entities and those who adhere to religious doctrines, these “may continue to advocate with utmost sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same sex marriage should not be condoned.” We can expect numerous challenges to determine what forms such advocacy may take.


About the Authors

Karen Kalzer

Ms. Kalzer practices employment and education law with an emphasis on defending complex litigation for communities of faith, non-profits, schools and private employers.

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