When it comes to marriage, soon-to-be spouses might deal with various issues. Same-sex couples have dealt with various changes in policies and laws that have seriously affected the ease and ability for the couples to marry, create a union and even dissolve a marriage.
Recently, a Cook County judge ruled that a lawsuit against Illinois’ ban on gay marriages can proceed, because the court found that the couples had a right to challenge the ban and that the law is discriminatory based on sexual preference. Several of the same-sex partners who brought the lawsuit stated that though they could have been married in another state easily, they wished to be married in Illinois.
Both the state Attorney General and the Cook County state’s attorney declined to defend the law, leaving it to five downstate clerks to defend the law. The law’s supporters argue that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising a family.
The couples argue that a recent Supreme Court decision striking down a law denying federal benefits to married gay couples created a new urgency for the court to act, but that decision applied only to married gay couples. The plaintiffs have filed for summary judgment in their favor, but the judge has not yet said when she will comply with that request.
Same-sex partners face the same issues that heterosexual couples face, such as property division, child custody and other legal disputes. Same-sex couples that are married also have the ability to divorce, and must deal with all the resulting legal issues surrounding that event. So long as the state acknowledges their marriage, the couple also has the same options available in making agreements for dealing with these issues included in the divorcing process.
Same-sex partners have the legal right to create a civil union for them and their partner if they live in a state where their marriage is prohibited. They also have the right to make arrangements with their partner for issues such as property division and child custody, in order to make any divorce or separation easier for all involved. Those unsure of the steps needed to create a civil union or have a legally recognized marriage should seek guidance and advice to ensure the process was properly carried out.
Source: BND.com, “Ill. Judge: Same-sex lawsuit can proceed,” Tammy Webber, Sep. 27, 2013.