Gay Marriage Issues are everywhere, not just NY

I blogged a few days ago about President Obama’s decision to support the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which is the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman and stating that states need not respect marriages performed in other states which are between members of the same sex. Now gay marriage is again in the news as New York has passed a law allowing it and this week the first gay marriages in New York have taken place. The local public radio station interviewed me about it and got me thinking (the interview can be heard by clicking here). The expansion of gay marriage to New York increases the likelihood that other states such as Georgia will encounter these issues. There will be gay couples who divorce in New York, legally, and then move to Georgia. Then the dilemma for Georgia courts will be how to treat such valid orders from other states. Under DOMA, Georgia would not have to recognize such an order based on a gay marriage. But if DOMA is overturned by the new “Respect for Marriage” act, then would Georgia be violating the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution if it did not recognize and enforce a valid “gay divorce”? These are interesting questions and I continue to look forward to them unfolding and how our judiciary and bar work to resolve these issues. The solutions are not easy and the process has obstacles, but our civilized society has handled and overcome much tougher issues. I am confident this one will be resolved with time as well.