Evidence Law & Spousal Privilege (or Lack Thereof) for Gay and Lesbian Couples
The rights, privileges, and responsibilities afforded to married individuals in the United States are vast and varied. As a matter of clear public policy, federal, state, and local governments grant married individuals everything from tax breaks to survivorship rights. Gay and lesbian couples across the country have sought to be included in these benefits and obligations. They have seen success in recent years in various state courts and legislatures, including being granted inclusion in marriage in a few, civil unions in some, and domestic partnerships in others. Despite such gains for these couples, 31 states have recently amended their constitutions to specifically deny such recognition. In these states, gay and lesbians are left with no other option than to attempt to contract around their inability to obtain governmental recognition of their unions; Minnesota is currently considering whether to pass a similar amendment.