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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
Once residency has been obtained, the status of the marriage is affected by state law and should be tested in local courts.
Laws vary from state to state in the
Marriages performed in
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.
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.
Gay marriage legislation in the
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.
It's one of the most debated topics in gay marriage rights, but currently gay marriage in the
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.
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.