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On May 18, 2013, France officially legalized same-gender marriage. France is now the 14th country to legalize same-gender marriages. In the U.S., the Defense of Marriage Act currently precludes same gender couples from legally marrying. This impacts tax treatment, hospital access to ill partners, and insurance considerations. The tide may be turning, however. Currently, 12 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-gender marriage. In addition, the Supreme Court is set to hand down a decision on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 in June. Proposition 8 is California’s ban on same-gender marriage.

In March, 2013, the Supreme Court heard arguments over Proposition 8 after two federal courts overruled its provisions. The overruling’s were done based upon due process and equal protection under the law issues. The Supreme Court will either uphold Proposition 8 as written, strike down some portion or all of Proposition 8, or to decline to rule on it. The Supreme Court will be making a similar ruling on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

With many other countries legalizing same-gender marriage, the Supreme Court is facing substantial pressure to overturn DOMA and Proposition 8. If this occurs, the changes will introduce many new estate planning opportunities previously unavailable to same-gender couples. Currently, same-gender couples often must undertake different estate planning strategies when creating a plan as opposed to their opposite-gender counterparts.

Contact the experienced Orange County estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC for more information and guidance about creating an estate plan. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481.

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