There is no disputing that the tide of public opinion on same-sex marriage has turned in favor of allowing federal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. On the heels of the landmark decision in California and the legislative initiative in Washington State, both Maryland and New Jersey are also paving the way to allow same-sex marriage.
“This is further evidence that Americans are changing their minds as they think about why marriage matters and who gay families are,” says Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People’s Right to Marry. “We see this in public opinion polls and in stories of political leaders who change their minds, people like Bob Barr and Bill Clinton.”
Experts believe that federal same-sex marriage is an inevitability and that it will result in some interesting legal implications for gays and lesbians. Besides having their marriages recognized across all jurisdictions due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the U.S. Constitution, gays and lesbians will see additional rights and protections when it comes to areas such as employment, healthcare and estate planning.
“Federal marriage equality will come about a lot faster than anyone imagined a couple years ago,” says Camilla Taylor, marriage project director at Lamda Legal. “I am absolutely certain it will happen within our lifetime.”
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