Same-Sex Marriage: What Comes Next?

Soon after the Supreme Court’s decisions in U.S. v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Obama administration signaled that it plans to extend federal recognition to marriage licenses, if otherwise valid, even if not recognized by the state a couple lives in. While simplifying some legal issues (such as how the federal government treats couples who move from one state to another) this decision introduces new complications in others, since same-sex couples can readily travel out of state to marry.

Cato’s Caleb Brown interviews me on some of the possible results: “If a credit card company files suit against you, it usually does so under state law. If you declare bankruptcy, however, that happens in federal court.” Will that give creditors unexpected new rights? Bonus: Ilya Shapiro discusses the vexing implications of the Perry decision for the question of who if anybody has standing to defend voter initiatives.

As we note, the broader question of how governments look at same-sex marriage is far from over. My parting shot: “If you’re one of the people excited by what the Supreme Court did, my piece of advice is: Calm down a little, because we are now going to go back to a situation where most people are still not married in the eyes of their own state, and that situation is going to change only one state at a time.”