Gay Marriage in US Tips

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Will my marriage be recognised in the US?

Gay Marriage and US Immigration

Although Massachusetts has passed a law legalizing gay marriage, a marriage conducted in Canada will not necessarily be recognized legally in the US . The US has an agreement with Canada not to challenge marriages performed in the neighboring country. This agreement has been used in arguments for recognizing Canadian gay marriage in the US, but has so far not carried enough weight to entitle couples married in Canada to US benefits.

All other countries that have laws legalising gay marriage have a residency requirement, so couples moving to the US will need a green-card to obtain residency. As immigration comes under federal law, gay partners cannot use the marriage residency requirement to obtain residency in America .

Once residency has been obtained, the status of the marriage is affected by state law and should be tested in local courts.

What are the gay marriage laws in the US?

Gay Marriage Laws in the US

Laws vary from state to state in the US, so it is always important to check with your local authorities to see what gay marriage laws are in your area. In all other countries apart from America , gay marriage laws apply country-wide. That is only for the present, as gay marriage laws are tested area to area on an almost daily basis, as couples married overseas appeal to their local government for recognition.

Marriages performed in Massachusetts have little chance of being recognized elsewhere, depending on the home state of the couple. Marriage legislation has been changed in 43 states to read 'between one man and one woman' and prevent gay marriages from being registered in that state.

How do I register for gay marriage?

Registering for Gay Marriage

In Massachusetts, gay couples applying for same sex marriage need to file a Notice of Intent to Marry in any local government office. There is a three-day waiting period before the license will be issued. Couples should be aware that same sex marriage licenses will only be provided to couples whose home state does not have a ban on gay marriage.

In Canada, which does not have a residency requirement for same sex marriage, the laws of a couple's home state will apply if the couple want their marriage recognized at home.

Once a gay marriage license has been granted, couples need to organize the actual ceremony and are responsible for all costs.

What is the difference between defining marriage and banning gay marriage altogether?

The Difference Between Defining Marriage and Banning Gay Marriage

Many US states have passed legislation preventing gay marriages performed in Massachusetts from being recognized in their state. However, 19 states specifically banned gay marriage through a constitutional amendment.
The difference between the two approaches has significance mainly in the effort it will take to legalize gay marriage. Although the 43 states defining marriage as 'between one man and one woman' prevent gay couples from approaching the state for recognition, the removal of that definition (which can be achieved through arguments on discrimination) would allow gay marriage.
States that define gay marriage as unconstitutional, however, have placed a more solid barrier between gay couples and the law.
This difference also has two effects: preventing recognition of gay marriage within the state and preventing gay marriage within America altogether. As a requirement of the gay marriage legislation in Massachusetts is that the couple's home state not ban gay marriage, those who live in the 19 states banning it cannot get married in America at all.

What states currently ban gay marriage?

States That Ban Gay Marriage

Gay marriage legislation in the US is constantly under attack from appeals to change state constitutions to explicitly ban gay marriage. At present, Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama have constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage. As a state's constitution is a strong part of the law, this makes legalizing gay marriage a more difficult task in these states.

Hawaii changed its state constitution as well, but only to redefine marriage as between opposite-sex partners.

What states may ban gay marriage in the future?

States That May Ban Gay Marriage in the Future

There are various legislations in the works to ban gay marriage in several states in the future. These states would have a gay marriage amendment in their constitutions, explicitly stating that gay marriage is unconstitutional. This is a more drastic move than amending marriage legislation to state that marriage is between opposite-sex partners only.

In 2007, Minnesota and North Carolina may re-introduce legislation for a gay marriage amendment that has so far failed in the state's Senate. California, Iowa, Indiana, Florida and Massachusetts have legislation up for consideration in 2008, and Pennsylvania in 2009.

What does gay marriage entitle couples to?

Gay Marriage and Entitlements in the US

It's one of the most debated topics in gay marriage rights, but currently gay marriage in the US does not entitle couples to the same benefits as heterosexual marriage. Part of the reasoning behind the struggle for gay marriage to be legalized is to ensure gay couples have gay marriage rights, such as inheritance rights, property rights and next-of-kin rights should one partner become ill.

States that allow same-sex civil unions provide most of the benefits of marriage to registered gay couples. However, these benefits only apply to state law, and couples may not be entitled to benefits that are under federal realm.

In Canada, as well as gaining rights through marriage, cohabiting same-sex couples are entitled to many of the same legal and financial benefits as married opposite-sex couples.

What attempts have been made to ban gay marriage in America?

Attempts to Ban Gay Marriage America-Wide

Gay marriage became a major issue in the 2004 presidential election. Both George W. Bush and his opponent John F. Kerry used gay marriage issues as part of their election campaigns, with Bush supporting a ban on same-sex marriage on a federal level through a piece of legislation called the Federal Marriage Amendment. This amendment would have voided marriages recognized in Massachusetts.

On May 18, 2006, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support the gay marriage amendment. It was debated in the United States Senate and ultimately defeated.

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