Feature

The Legal Status of Transgender Relationships

Kylar W. Broadus

Marriage equality has been a hard-fought, decades-long battle. Many activists never thought it would ever get its day before the U.S. Supreme Court, and some did not live to see it. The matter reached the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015, after same-sex cases from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee were consolidated by the Sixth Circuit case Obergefell v. Hodges. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its allies continued to advocate for marriage equality while vigilantly awaiting a decision, which was delivered on June 26 in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015): Same-sex couples had the right to marry and have their marriage recognized in other jurisdictions just as opposite-sex couples could under the Equal Protection Clause. Many LGBT couples hiding their lives for decades were finally able to share their committed relationships with the world—but more importantly, they were able to share in the benefits that other committed couples had enjoyed for years, such as rights to each other’s health care, to make decisions legally for each other, to receive their spouse’s pension and Social Security, and so many other benefits that other married couples take for granted.

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