Articles Posted in Gay Marriage

Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney

Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.

1129738_vintage_clock_2.jpgFlorida law holds that a short-term marriage is one that lasts for 7 or less years in accordance with Florida Statute 61.08(4). If a marriage is for less than seven (7) years, then the court may find that certain provisions of equitable distribution of assets do not apply, as in a recent Florida case Lacoste v. Lacoste, 36 FLW D784 (Fla. 1st DCA April 14, 2011).

DOJ_logo.jpgThe U.S. Department of Justice has filed appeals on two rulings by a Massachusetts judge who called the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional because it denies federal benefits to gay couples that marry.

In July, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in two separate cases that DOMA is unconstitutional because it restricts a state’s right to define marriage and denies married gays a number of federal benefits given to heterosexual couples, which violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Passed in 1996, DOMA restricts marriage to the union of one man and one woman, bars the federal government from recognizing gay marriage and gives states the right to not recognize same-sex unions performed in other states. Currently, five states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire — and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Three states recognize but do not perform gay marriages: New York, Rhode Island and Maryland.

GayMarriage.jpgA Newsweek report on the latest results from the Constructing the Family Surveys shows that for the first time, a majority of Americans (52 percent) support gay marriage and 68 percent believe that gays with children qualify as families.

Four universities launched the survey, which monitors Americans’ opinions on what constitutes a family, in 2003. At that time, about 41 percent of those surveyed said they supported gay marriage and 53 percent agreed that a couple of the same sex with children constituted a family. The latest findings are from the 2010 survey and are included in a new book entitled, Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family.

Researchers say that a number of societal shifts have accelerated the rate of change in Americans’ opinions about gay marriage and family, including the fact that homosexuals – including several notable celebrities — have become more open about their sexual orientation. In addition, gay couples, friends and families are more prevalent on TV and the ability for gays to marry in several states has contributed to an increased acceptance by Americans.