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What the recent same-sex marriage ruling means for Californians

Over the weekend, many people across the United States celebrated the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage legal in all states. It was truly an historic ruling that resulted in dramatic and immediate changes across the country.

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While people in California may not be as directly impacted as gay and lesbian couples in the 13 states where same-sex marriage was not legal, the ruling reflects a major change in the rights of same-sex couples.

Gay and lesbian couples in California have had the right to marry since 2013 so the Supreme Court ruling isn't overturning anything. That is not the case in other states that had banned same-sex marriage and/or refused to observe unions that were legitimized in other states. With the recent ruling, these states will be required to legally recognize marriages between any two people.

While same-sex marriage has been legal in this state for years, the recent Supreme Court ruling will have an impact on Californians in a number of different ways.

To begin with, the ruling means that any couple married in this state will have their union recognized when they travel to other states. This will be crucial if a married couple moves or vacations in states like Texas where same-sex marriages were banned.

The ruling also means that there will be more people wanting to get married because they are finally able to do so legally. In some cases, marriage is all but inevitable for a couple who has been together for a long time. In other cases, people may want to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling by getting married a little sooner than they may have done otherwise.

No matter how long a couple has been together, they will need to consider some serious family law matters before they marry and in the event of a divorce. Just like any couple, LGBT spouses may have questions about spousal support (alimony), child custody, prenuptial agreements and dividing assets, which can all be very complex issues.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the ruling affects individual cases going forward, but at least for now, all couples in and outside of California have the right to get married and access the benefits and rights that come with marriage.

Source: CNN, "Most states to abide by Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, but..." Eliott C. McLaughlin, June 30, 2015

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