May 21, 2013
Dr. Rosalind Williams
Same-sex couples should be able to enjoy all of the same spousal rights along with benefits that are concurrent with applicable federal and state statutes that traditional couples enjoy. With more states legalizing same-sex marriages, it is becoming clearer that this is an issue that cannot and will not go away quietly. The politicians that seek to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman are stating that it is perfectly all right legally to discriminate against American citizens solely on the ...view middle of the document...
As of May 2013, 12 states – Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), New York (2011), Maine (2012), Maryland (2012), Washington (2012), Rhode Island (2013), Delaware (2013), and Minnesota (2013) - along with the District of Columbia (2010) recognize same-sex marriages. In addition, same-sex marriages are recognized by three Native American tribes. These tribes are the Coquille Tribe (Oregon) since 2008, the Suquamish tribe (Washington) since 2011, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Michigan) since 2013. As a result, these jurisdictions can provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Along with these changes, employers should be aware of their existing plan documentation and the way that the terms of spouse and domestic partner are defined.
In April 2013, the Delaware State Legislature took up the legislation, House Bill 75, which would delete the prohibition against same-sex marriages added to Delaware law in 1996 and will effectively supplant the same-sex civil-union statute enacted in Delaware in 2011 (Denison, 2013). In the article, it states that the legislation, which had 23 co-sponsors in the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate would also include language to ensure that any references to marriage, spouses, and their children in Delaware law are applied equally to same-sex married couples, and that those couples will be afforded the same rights as opposite-sex couples to litigate divorces and child custody disputes in Family Court
The bill also makes clear that any legal definition of a dependent, family, husband, wife, widow, widower or next-of-kin would cover same-sex married couples. Same-sex spouses also would be permitted to enter their names on birth certificates. Churches and clergy members would be specifically protected from having to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony if they choose not to, according to the bill.
On May 7, 2013, Delaware became the eleventh state to legalize same-sex marriages when Governor Jack Markell signed a gay marriage bill into law. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2013. Under the provisions of the bill, no new civil unions will be performed in Delaware after July 1, and existing civil unions will be converted to marriages over the next year. The legislation also states that same-sex unions established in other states will be treated the same as marriages under Delaware law.
On February 20, 2031, a bill was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. On March 12 both the Senate and House policy committees passed the same version of the marriage bill, Senate bill SF925 and House Bill HF1054 (Baskt, 2013). Other committees of each house reviewed the financial impact of the legislation on May 6-7, 2013. On May 9, 2013, the House passed same-sex marriage legislation by a vote of 75-59 with all but two Democrats...