Supreme Court Review of Marriage Cases Has Enormous Impact for Same-Sex Couples
The Williams Institute reports on the various ways that the U.S. Supreme Court's review of the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 in March 2013 could have far ranging economic and regulatory implications for same-sex couples and their families.
Windsor v. United States raises questions about federal recognition of same-sex couples legally married under state law. Of approximately 645,000 same-sex couples nationally, at least 20% live in a jurisdiction where they can marry. From 50,000 to 80,000 of same-sex couples in the United States are legally married, and more than 85,000 are in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. If federal recognition of same-sex couples comes as a result of the court's review, changes to federal policies will have a profound impact on these couples.
Research suggests the court's decision to review Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8, could impact thousands of same-sex couples. "There has been extensive research on the lives and experiences of LGBT people and their families. This research has been critical in legal analysis of disparate treatment of same-sex couples under the law, including legal analysis by the federal trial court that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional in the case that the Supreme Court is now reviewing," said David Codell, the Williams Institute's Visiting Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law and Legal Director.