In its June 26, 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court found a federal constitutional right to marriage equality for same-sex couples under the due process and equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment.

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As a result of this decision, same-sex couples will be able to marry in every state throughout the U.S. (and every U.S. territory), and all past marriages entered into in states with marriage equality (through a court decision, legislation, or ballot initiative) must be recognized as valid marriages in every state and U.S. territory.   After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the federal government already recognized all same-sex marriages for the purposes of federal law, including the administration of federal health and human services programs.

Health insurance plans now must adjust their applications to recognize same-sex marriages in and from every state, and all health care organizations and providers should adjust their intake and registration forms to recognize same-sex marriages.  Electronic health record systems also should be adjusted to appropriately identify same-sex couples when they are married.

There is speculation that most employers will stop offering employer-based health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of employees (offered as an alternative when marriage equality was not legally available in all states), and require employees who are in same-sex relationships to become married to retain spousal coverage.  However some employers are continuing to offer domestic partner coverage both to heterosexual and to gay and lesbian couples (including younger couples who do not wish to get married, and older couples – including those in retirement but still eligible for employee benefits – who do not wish to get married).


2 thoughts on “U.S. Supreme Court: Marriage Equality Recognized Nationwide

  1. Hi Igs,

    So question:

    Would a marriage license we obtained when SF first started issuing them to same-sex couples be considered “valid?”

    If not, would there be a case for it?

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Hi Rene – unfortunately, since the California Supreme Court subsequently declared those marriages invalid, they would not be recognized under this recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (while the marriages in California between the time the California Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality and Proposition 8 remain valid) –


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