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same-sex marriageWith the legality of same sex-marriages changing in many states across the country, legal issues involving the status change are sure to arise. Since this is a relatively new social change in society, it may take a while for the law to catch up and apply appropriately to many situations involving same-sex marriages. A recent article discussed the fact that divorce laws in many states have yet to keep up with the changing definition of marriage that is being accepted in many states.

Different Laws in Different States

One common problem that arises for same-sex couples who decide to marry presents itself where the couple has a marriage ceremony in a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage, but reside in another state, where they may later seek to divorce. An issue comes up if the state in which the couple seeks a divorce does not recognize same-sex marriage to begin with. Cases like this can potentially present many legal obstacles. If the state in which the couple lives does not recognize same-sex marriage, they would most likely lack any jurisdiction to void the marriage, something many judges in such states are reportedly deciding.

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The Washington Post reported that, on November 5, the Illinois House of Representatives passed House Bill 5170 which, if signed by Governor Pat Quinn, will create the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Under this Act, all Illinois state laws that apply to marriage will apply equally to marriages between two people of the same sex as to marriages between two people of different sexes. According to the Post, an aide to Governor Quinn stated that he would sign the bill within the month.

Gay marriage may soon be legal in Illinois. Illinois gay marriage image.Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act

Before June 2011, same-sex couples were not entitled to the same marital rights as different-sex married couples. Under the law, married couples in Illinois received all protections that come to mind when imagining marriage: visitation rights in hospitals, survivor benefits in jointly-held property, and parental rights in children. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, were not merely prevented from obtaining these rights through marriage, they were expressly forbidden. The current Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act prohibits “a marriage between [two] individuals of the same sex.” The current Act even goes so far as to outright declare that “[a] marriage between [two] individuals of the same sex is contrary to the public policy of” Illinois.

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