You may be wondering about family law in Pensacola, FL and divorce in Pensacola, FL regarding same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Florida since January 6, 2015, as a result of Brenner v. Scott, the lead case on the issue. In this case, a U.S. district court ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on August 21, 2014. The order was stayed temporarily; state attempts at extending the stay failed, with the U.S. Supreme Court denying further extension on December 19, 2014. With the stay expired, the case is still under appeal.

There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections available to married couples in federal law alone, according to a General Accounting Office assessment made in 2004. [1]

Benefits only available to married couples include:

  •      Hospital visitation during an illness.
  •      The option of filing a joint tax return to reduce a tax burden.
  •      Access to family health coverage.
  •      US residency and family unification for partners from another country, and bereavement leave and inheritance rights if a partner dies. [2] [3]

Married couples also have access to protections if the relationship ends, such as:

  •      Child custody.
  •      Spousal or child support.
  •      Equitable division of property. [4]

Married couples in the US armed forces are offered health insurance and other benefits unavailable to domestic partners. [5] The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Department of Labor also recognize married couples, for the purpose of granting tax, retirement and health insurance benefits. [6] The US federal government does not grant equivalent benefits to gay couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships. [7] [8] An Oct. 2, 2009 analysis by the New York Times estimated that same-sex couples denied marriage benefits would incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over their lifetimes compared with married heterosexual couples. [9] A January 2014 analysis published by the Atlantic concluded that unmarried women pay up to one million dollars more over their lifetimes than married women for healthcare, taxes, and other expenses. [10]

Do you have more questions or concerns regarding family law in Pensacola, FL and/or divorce in Pensacola, FL? Steve W. Bowden in Pensacola, FL has over 35 years of experience and can help you avoid feelings of frustration and helplessness by educating you about the divorce process. Whether your divorce situation requires aggressive representation or a more harmonious approach, we will help you resolve everything as quickly and with as little drama as possible.


  1. Congressional Budget Office, “The Potential Budgetary Impact of Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages,” cbo.gov, June 21, 2004
  2. Freedom to Marry, “Marriage 101,” www.freedomtomarry.org (accessed Sep. 15, 2010)
  3. Evan Wolfson, “Protections Denied to Same-Sex Couples and Their Kids,” freedomtomarry.org (accessed Dec. 4, 2014)
  4. Nolo, “Marriage Rights and Benefits,” nolo.com (accessed Dec. 4, 2014)
  5. Chuck Hagel, et al., “Memorandum for secretaries of the Military Departments under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness,” defense.gov, Aug. 13, 2013
  6. Joanne Sammer and Stephen Miller, “The Future of Domestic Partner Benefits,” Society for Human Resource Management website, Oct. 21, 2013
  7. Josh Hicks, “Federal Benefits Won’t Extend to Domestic Partners under DOMA Ruling,” washingtonpost.com, July 8, 2013
  8. Internal Revenue Service, “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Registered Domestic Partners and Individuals in Civil Unions,” irs.gov, Aug. 19, 2014


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