Will Marriage Equality Be Overturned?

In 2015, the Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples were to be afforded the same rights as opposite-sex couples. In essence, same-sex couples were granted the right to marry in every state. Especially after the recent election, some LGBT couples are concerned that the ruling by the court could be overturned and their marriages impacted. If you are in a same-sex marriage, here is what you need to know.  

Can Marriage Equality Be Overturned?

There is a possibility that the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality could be overturned. However, there are several conditions that will need to be met before this occurs. The first and most important condition is that the court would have to agree to revisit the issue of marriage equality.  

Whether or not the court would agree to revisit the issue can be impacted by a number of factors, including the makeup of the court. The court's composition would most likely have to swing more conservative for this to occur. If there were vacancies to the court, nominees would still have to go through the confirmation process, which could take months or longer.  

Another issue that determines whether or not the issue is revisited is if another case is presented to the court. If all of these things occur and the court does agree to hear the case, it can vote to overrule the previous decision. 

What if it Is Overturned?

Having the ruling overturned can impact you and your spouse in a number of ways. For instance, you and your spouse could no longer file tax returns as a married couple. As a result, you could not take advantage of tax breaks that are specifically for married couples.  

There is also the possibility that thousands of same-sex marriages could be annulled. Without the protection of marriage equality, same-sex couples would lose other important rights, including the right to make end-of-life decisions for their partners and the right to receive benefits from their partners' retirement funds.  

What Can You Do?

Although there is not an immediate threat to marriage equality, you and your spouse should meet with your family attorney to discuss protections you can put in place to protect both of your interests.  

For instance, you and your spouse could create power of attorney documents to give each other permission to make financial and health care decisions, if necessary. You could also explore ways to ensure that the proceeds of retirement benefits are paid out to the surviving spouse. 

For more information about your rights, contact local firms like Kalamarides & Lambert.