Same-Sex Marriages May Not Cross State Borders

By Tom Bacon

States in the U.S. traditionally recognize the policies and laws of other states. That's called "reciprocity." But the concept may break down in the battle over same-sex marriages.

In Washington, the high court decision nullifying the federal Defense of Marriage Act made hardly a legal ripple, because state law grants same-sex marriages the same rights and benefits as traditional man-woman unions enjoy.

But if a same-sex couple marries in Washington and moves to Idaho, they may leave their rights at the border.

Idaho has enshrined the policy of marriage as solely a union between a man and a woman not only in its law, but in its constitution. Idaho voters adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006, flatly banning same-sex marriages.

Speaking about the Supreme Court decision this week, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden shrugged and said it'll have no impact in Idaho.

And neighboring Oregon's constitution also refers to marriage in terms of a man and a woman, although its statutory law allows for domestic partnerships.

The issue of reciprocity is expected to become the next crucial battleground in the still lively debate over gay marriages.

The Supreme Court ruling cast doubts on state same-sex marriage bans, but left them in place. In fact, the justices left intact Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which specifically allows states to refuse to recognize marriages performed elsewhere.
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