Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Federal government to recognize all same-sex marriages

The United States is unique around the world for a multitude of reasons. One such reason is the interplay between state and federal governments. Although federal law trumps state law in almost every situation where the two conflict, there are gray areas of the law that lead to confusing and sometimes disastrous situations. Sometimes state law will take precedence over federal law, such as is the case with the legalization of marijuana, but in other cases the federal law will trump the states on an issue.

U.S. Attorney General Eric holder announced on Sunday that the U.S. federal government will now recognize all same-sex marriages as equal to opposite sex marriages in all federal matters. The recognition of the same-sex couple's marriage will extend to even those states that expressly prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages, such as Utah. The new treatment will have far reaching effects as it now offers couples protections in everything from bankruptcy to criminal prosecutions. Holder's speech compares the struggle for same-sex marriage to that for civil rights in the 60's and may point to a major changing point in the stance of the United States on same-sex marriage when taken with the recent victory against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Marriage is a gray area of family law. Any couple that is struggling with family law issues may be wise to consult with an experienced family law professional. As laws are changing, it can be difficult to comprehend how the various changes can affect one's individual circumstances. Couples may have issues pertaining to child custody, separation of property, as well as alimony. Same-sex couples may face even more challenges related to their unions. Experienced legal professionals are available to assist with any issues a Utah couple will face.

Source: ABC 7, "Feds to provide benefits, services to all same-sex marriages," Even Perez, February 8, 2014

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