In a huge win for same sex couples, the U.S. government plans to extend recognition of same sex marriage in federal legal matters. The spousal privilege rule will apply to same sex couples across the nation in federal courts, even in states where same sex marriages are not recognized, says Anjali Dooley, attorney in St. Louis, Missouri with Anjali Dooley, LLC.
The new federal policy extends to a lot of federal benefits, says Dooley, including prison visitation rights and the 9/11 Benefit Fund. "These benefits that normally heterosexual couples have, have now been extended to same sex couples," she adds.
There is a state sovereignty issue Dooley mentions, in that states are saying they have to follow what the federal government is doing, even if they don't recognize same sex marriage. Dooley can see some litigation happening as a result between the states and the federal government, as obviously, federal law preempts state law.
Dooley also thinks that states will have to start legalizing same sex marriage for it to be consistent throughout the nation, otherwise state and federal law are not going to match up and it "will get messy" with attorneys having to decide whether to file in state or federal court.
Anjali Dooley is an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri with Anjali B. Dooley, LLC. She spoke with the Legal Broadcast Network, providing online, on-demand legal video content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.