On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that our Constitution guarantees the right of marriage to all Americans—including same-sex couples. The decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and has been hailed as major civil rights victory for our country.
Attorney Anthony Kennedy was instrumental in the split 5-4 decision among the justices. He wrote passionately about the decision following the ruling, not only on the importance of marriage in our society, but the long journey activists in the LGBT community have had to take to have their voices heard. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” he wrote. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
President Obama also spoke in favor of the decision later that day. To an audience in the White House Rose Garden, he called the decision a victory for America. “This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality,” he said in his address. “In doing so, they have reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law; that all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.”
CHANGES FOR NEW YORK SAME-SEX COUPLES
Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2011, but that was a state decision that did not give same-sex couples access to federal marriage benefits. These benefits, however, have now been made available by the Supreme Court decision last month.
New federal benefits for same-sex couples include:
- Joint federal income tax filings
- Estate tax portability
- Veteran and military benefits
- Federal employment benefits
- Social security spousal survivor benefits
- Social security retirement benefits
- Social security lump-sum death benefits
Any one of these new benefits could affect a family law matter that concerns finances. If you believe that your divorce, separation, prenuptial agreement, or any other family law issue could be affected by these new federal marriage benefits, then we invite you to contact us at the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P. C. today. We have over two decades of legal experience in this practice area and have long been supporters and advocates of same-sex rights in New York. We are now prepared to help you and your partner, husband, or wife parse these new federal marriage benefits and assess how they may affect a current or anticipated family law or divorce issue.
If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.