Utah and New Mexico add to the list of states with guidance on same sex marriage rights for individuals. A legal dispute is likely to follow.
Both states provided new guidance due to relevant case law, essentially arguing that the same sex marriage is legal in that jurisdiction. Utah was due to a federal court ruling and New Mexico made the change as a result of their state supreme court. Both cases were in part decided by the equal protection clause provided by either the state or federal constitution.
Griego v. Oliver, 2013 WL 6670704 (N.M. 2013);
Kitchen v. Herbert, 2013 WL 6697874 (D. Utah 2013)
Bishop v. U.S. ex rel. Holder, 2014 WL 116013 (Oklahoma 2014)
[Shortly after the decision in Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court suspended same sex marriages in the state and the U.S. attorney general Eric Holder also weighed in saying the federal government would fully recognize the newly performed marriages. In addition, Oklahoma recently announced a federal case holding that federal law prevented the state prohibition of same sex marriages also due to the federal equal protection clause. This holding is stayed until further legal proceedings. Also, in February 2014, a judge declared that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but didn't rule on the constitutionality of whether such marriages can be performed in the state. Finally, in February 2014, a federal courts in Virginia held that the state ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional and stayed until an appeal.] If you have questions regarding same sex marriage laws or benefit implications, please contact Kinney & Larson.