November 11, 2016
Now that Trump has won the presidential election, we are hearing concerns and fears from many same-sex couples who are concerned that their marriages may be challenged or invalidated. We are also hearing from couples who are not yet married, but worried that they may lose the right to marry under a Trump administration.
While there are many reasons for concern about the new administration, the freedom to marry—and the security of our existing marriages—are not in serious jeopardy.
There is no realistic possibility that anyone’s marriage will be invalidated. The law is very strong that if a marriage is valid when entered, it cannot be invalidated by any subsequent change in the law. So people who are already married should not be concerned that their marriages can be taken away. To the contrary, it is important that they continue to live their lives as married couples. If you or anyone you know encounters any problem with your marriage being fully respected, contact NCLR or another LGBT legal group immediately.
For individuals who are not currently married but who may wish to marry in the future, it is also highly unlikely that the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry will be challenged or that the Supreme Court would revisit its 2015 holding that same-sex couples have that fundamental right.
The doctrine of stare decisis—which means that courts generally will respect and follow their own prior rulings—is strong, and the Supreme Court rarely overturns an important constitutional ruling so soon after issuing it. In addition, even the appointment of an anti-marriage equality justice to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court would not jeopardize the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality, and the great majority of Americans still strongly support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.
In short, undoing marriage equality would be extremely difficult.
For couples or individuals with specific questions about marriage, please feel free to reach out to our Helpline at 1.800.528.6257 or 415.392.6257, or email us at Info@NCLRights.org.