As of February 2015, 37 states, the District of Columbia, and 22 Native American tribal jurisdictions recognize same-sex marriage. Due to the Supreme Court's June 2013 ruling to strike down a key aspect of the Defense of Marriage Act, those same-sex couples who marry in states that recognize their marriage, are now entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), over 1,000 rights and protections are granted to U.S. citizens who marry by the federal government, and such areas that are affected include health insurance, Medicaid, retirement accounts, pensions, family leave, immigration laws, Social Security benefits, estate taxes, hospital visitation, and veteran's benefits.
Currently, twelve states including: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, and two territories in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico do not issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Alabama is the latest state to recognize same-sex marriage, and this came after a U.S. district judge ruled that the state's ban was unconstitutional in January. However, the judge's decision was placed on hold in order to give the state time to prepare. Though the state requested to get the hold extended, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant the request.
Currently, all states have some type of a case pending relating to same-sex marriage, five of which were pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court decided not to hear the five cases, thereby allowing the decisions from the 4th, 7th, and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal to stand.
For legal advice regarding any aspect of a same-sex marriage in Los Angeles and California, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for all of your marriage and divorce needs!