Despite the fact that Washington now recognizes domestic partnerships as the equivalent of marriage under state law, there are still significant obstacles for same-sex couples under federal law. Probably the most significant obstacle that same-sex couples face is the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The following is a summary of DOMA and an overview of how the law can affect domestic partnerships, despite their newfound status in the state of Washington.
Washington state is the latest among several states that now recognize same-sex marriage, and family courts here will need to address the question of same-sex divorce. Same-sex marriages that have ended in divorce in other states are bringing to light complicated issues regarding the interaction of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state law.