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Revamping marriage after DOMA

Now that the Defense of Marriage Act has been overturned in a victory for gay and lesbian couples in Colorado and across the nation, the courts have opened the door for the equality of same-sex unions. However, the victory doesn't mean that same-sex couples will instantly gain the same rights as their heterosexual partners. Just as the win in Brown v. the Board of Education didn't mean an automatic elimination of race issues, gay and lesbian couples will have to continue to fight for equality in the nation.

Same-sex unions may not face the same challenges their predecessors did when they battled for protection against racial discrimination. National acceptance of same-sex unions appears to be making headway in the nation as a dozen states and the District of Columbia have already made gay marriage legal in their jurisdictions.

For many same-sex couples, marriage isn't the goal. Part of their decision to remain single is that they are used to the legal restrictions that prevented their unions and have found ways to work around those laws. In addition, they don't want the stereotyping that marriage can represent. However, they might reconsider marriage in the light of the Supreme Court's ruling. Along with marriage comes the need to protect assets so that they can be divided fairly in the event of a divorce. However, some same-sex couples might not want those traditional labels applied to them if the marriage ends. They may want the freedom to break free of the terms of 'husband," who went out and earned money, and 'wife," who stayed home and cared for the children and the house.

When same-sex couples are trying to establish marriages, they might have legal questions. A family lawyer might be able to help them with prenuptial agreements or other legal issues.

Source: Huffington Post, "Lesbian 'Husbands' and Gay 'Wives': The Gendering of Gay Divorce", Katherine Franke, July 09, 2013

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