Same-Sex Marriages Do Not Yet Mean Equality, Especially When Traveling
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Same-Sex Marriages Do Not Yet Mean Equality, Especially When Traveling

Posted on in Family Law
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same-sex marriage, Illinois, Illinois law, divorce, marriage, marriage equalityMuch has been written about the landmark law passed in Illinois last year legalizing same-sex marriages. Many have weighed in on the subject, be they opposed (like the Catholic Church), in favor (like the American Civil Liberties Union), or blasé (like the US Supreme Court, if the satirical newspaper The Onion is to be believed).

However one feels about it, the law goes into effect statewide on June 1st. On that date, same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses so that their marriages can receive the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities as traditional, opposite-sex marriages. In fact, for some Illinois residents, including those in Cook and Champaign counties, clerk’s offices have already begun giving out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This is a result of a federal judge’s recent decision striking down the old state law as violating the U.S. Constitution.

This equality, however, will not necessarily exist outside of Illinois.

Illinois was the 16th state to legalize gay marriage in America. Same-sex marriages are recognized as legal and binding in the now 18 states (and the District of Columbia) that allow them, whether the marriage was conducted in Illinois, Massachusetts, California, or wherever else. However, outside of those states, this may not be the case. In Colorado, a legally recognized gay marriage conducted in another state is treated as a civil union. Everywhere else, the marriage simply does not exist, and the rights commensurate with marriage are withheld.

This makes travel potentially dangerous and more than a little taxing, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times. The piece reports on the travel difficulties suffered by same-sex couples who have adopted, as well as those who travel together. When traveling with children, not everyone will presume that two people of the same gender are the parents of the child in their possession. As a result, gay couples often find themselves needing to prove their status as parents of the children, or risk having the police take the child away. Traveling with a birth certificate for the child, in order to prove identity, is very real for some parents.

Other considerations include proving that one is related to someone in case of hospitalization. This can be done with adoption papers in the case of hospitalized children. But there have been heartbreaking cases in which people were denied access to their loved ones’ deathbed, merely because the state they were in did not recognize same sex marriage.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

While the landmark law in Illinois is a broad step toward marriage equality in America, there are still many legal pitfalls same-sex couples can fall into. Much of the law of same-sex marriage is unsettled, and though it is not fair, same-sex couples need to protect themselves in ways that opposite-sex couples do not. If you are contemplating marriage, contact Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices today.

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