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United States marriage equality

November 5 marked history for Illinois and the United States. The state became the fifteenth to recognize same-sex marriage in the union. Joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maryland, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, California and New Jersey, gay couples in Illinois will be able to legally marry. Same-sex marriages are said to begin on June 2, 2014.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are over 1,000 benefits granted to spouses federally married. While there was a point when the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented same-sex marriages from being federally recognized, the act was abolished earlier this year. Therefore, same-sex couples in states recognizing marriage equality receive all benefits.

Given not all states in the country recognize same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian married couples still face some difficulties. While a gay couple from Portland, Ore. can travel a short distance north into Washington and marry, when traveling back to Oregon their marriage will not be recognized.

Consequently, the Oregon couple will not receive the same marriage benefits they would in Washington.

As the United States reaches 15 states recognizing marriage equality, the country could begin to see a domino effect. As recognition among the states of marriage equality continues on its growth trend it may soon cease to be defined by miles.

For a bit of insight into the concept of “miles defining a marriage,” view Allena Barnes-Gross’ spoken word titled “Miles Define My Marriage” below.

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