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Same-sex marriage developments and turmoil within the US Supreme Court: Part 1

Date:19 AUG 2013

Roger McCarthy QCAssociate member, Coram Chambers

This article provides a survey of some same-sex marriage developments in other countries. Readers will gain a sense of how the issue is seen in an international context. Readers will see both contrasts and parallels with the situation in England, Wales and Scotland. There is a particular focus in the article on the very recent (26 June 2013) landmark decision of US Government v Windsor in the United States Supreme Court. This decision held that federal legislation which limited the meaning of "marriage" and "spouse so as to exclude same sex-marriages was unconstitutional. This decision was handed down 10 years to the day after the Supreme Court had held that the criminalisation of male same-sex intercourse was unconstitutional.

The author refers to the 17th century thinker John Locke, the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights, the UK Supreme Court, the general equality issues, the profile of the lead judge in Windsor, excerpts from the judgments in Windsor, the laws on same sex-marriage in the US, the degree of state and public acceptance of same-sex marriage in the USA and looks to the prospect of future change in the US after the Windsor case. The article will be of interest to readers who are awaiting the implementation of statutes on same-sex marriage in England, Wales and Scotland.

The full version of this article appears in the September 2013 issue of Family Law.