It has been all over the news that the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. While this provides same-sex couples across the country with some positive news, it also raises some questions for Arkansas families, the biggest is what kind of recognition will they receive.
It is no surprise that Arkansas has not legalized same-sex marriage, but that has not prevented many same-sex couples from traveling to the states and countries that have in pursuit of a legal and binding marriage license. Although the couples that move back to Arkansas lose that recognition the moment they cross the border, there was hope that with the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act that they could at least be recognized by the federal government. With the way the opinion has been worded, however, it is not entirely clear what will happen.
It will take some time for the federal government to go through the Defense of Marriage Act and all federal statutes to determine where heterosexual couples receive privileges that same-sex couples do not. Immediately following the announcement that the Supreme Court had overturned the federal ban, President Obama ordered the government to review the statutes in an effort to get same-sex couples who were legally married their benefits.
It is presumably during this review that there will be some clarification on exactly how this will change things for Arkansas couples who were legally married, if at all.
Source: CNN, “Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory,” Michael Pearson, June 26, 2013