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Same-sex marriage decision affects Georgia couples

Same-sex couples in Georgia who have been unable to marry in the state have had that right granted to them by a Supreme Court decision. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed. The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the definition of marriage has changed over time.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent that the decision threatened democracy in the United States. However, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriages, and it is legal in most states. Nearly two-thirds of people in an ABC News/Washington Post poll two months prior to the decision said they were in favor of gay marriage, and more than 35 states had legalized it.

One of the problems arising from the differing state laws was marriages not being recognized from one state to the next. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples were eligible for federal benefits. A couple got married in Maryland in the wake of that decision, but in their home state of Ohio, when one spouse died, the state did not recognize that right. The case went to the Supreme Court along with several similar cases.

This decision may have a momentous effect in the lives of some same-sex couples in Georgia. While previously they had to visit an attorney and draw up complicated legal documents in order to obtain the same rights as heterosexual couples, that now may change. However, people in this situation may still wish to speak with an attorney. Some couples may choose to maintain the arrangement they have. Other couples may wish to change their approach to estate planning or other aspects of financial and family law issues, and an attorney may be able to assist in this regard.

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