Current Citation: "Interstate recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions: a handbook for judges," 153 U. Pa. L. Rev. 2143 (2005).


Same-sex marriage is here. Massachusetts now recognizes such marriages, and increasing numbers of same-sex couples have married. Other states have virtually the same status: Vermont recognizes "civil unions," and California recognizes "domestic partnerships," that have virtually all the rights of marriage. Are these statuses exportable? Will same-sex unions be recognized in other states? The answer should not be mysterious. There is a well developed body of law on the question of whether and when to recognize extraterritorial marriages that are contrary to the forum's public policy. Assuming that courts decide to follow that law, the answer is, it depends. This article will offer a short overview. The answer is somewhat complex, but there are large areas of clarity.


Constitutional Law

Date of this Version

February 2005