The new legal landscape of same-sex marriage

LGBT, Relationships, Rights

This article originally appeared on Seattle Bride Magazine

After years of groundwork, decades of waiting, and generations of oppression, Americans in both same- and opposite-sex relationships can enjoy the magnificence of matrimony, which begs the question: when can we start wedding planning?

On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 opinion the U.S. Supreme Court held that marriage is a fundamental right under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, infringing upon this right by denying proper marriage licensure to same-sex couples is now considered an unconstitutional intrusion upon a basic American freedom, and same-sex marriage must be permitted, recognized, and acknowledged in all 50 states.

Along with this sweeping victory comes a wave of weddings for those who have patiently waited—some, for their entire lives—to solidify and solemnize their relationship. However, as many same-sex couples anxiously plan their long-anticipated “I do’s,” the not-so-glamorous legal implications of wedding planning may cause additional stress, so understanding the legal landscape is strongly recommended.

Working with vendors

Although it might seem counterintuitive, the Court’s marriage ruling did not, broadly speaking, impact small business wedding vendors in any way. In general terms, the Court addressed the constitutionality (or, lack thereof) of denying marriage and marital benefits to couples based on sexual orientation. After pages of analysis, the Court’s majority decided this sort of line-drawing went against the Constitution, and its opinion means that local towns, municipalities, and states must now issue licenses to any unmarried, adult, unrelated couple that seeks to wed.

What was not mentioned in the opinion was whether small businesses must follow suit and offer services for same-sex weddings.

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Read the full guide on Seattle Bride Magazine to learn about:

  • Whether a vendor can legally deny you a service
  • How religious freedom laws can affect you
  • In what situations you might still be denied a wedding license