All LGBT criminal and DUI defense clients deserve the same respect and equal protection under the law. This is a constitutional right. You may have seen Lady Justice pictured with a blindfold so that she can judge without prejudice. This is because our law firm believes that the law must protect all people, including LGBT persons. And as such, we take the responsibility of zealous representation for LGBT clients very seriously.
Years ago, same-sex marriage was not federally recognized. The laws changed in 2015 when the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision. The Obergefell case ruled that even if states have bans against same-sex marriage, it is illegal. It’s your basic constitutional right to get married and it can’t be interfered with by the government. If you’re gay, you have this same right and it doesn’t matter what state or region of the US you live in. The Obergefell decision also stated that all U.S. states must recognize the marriages of gay people after they were legally married in another state. Now the law recognizes that the right to marry is a basic human right that everyone should have as it relates to their liberty and equality. The Due Process and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that each and every couple has the same rights, regardless of sexual orientation.
The Obergefell case was groundbreaking and is still being felt all across the U.S. with each court system figuring out how it’ll apply in different circumstances. In the wake of this new law, there are a lot of new implications for criminal law. One specific implication is the effect on same-sex marriage rights in DUI cases. These rights can now be applied in the case where someone is suspected of breaking laws against same-sex marriage. Lawyers are always careful to cover all the angles and will use any advantage they can get their hands on. For example, in criminal law, there is what is known as a spousal privilege that protects statements made by a spouse to another spouse or to another person. Such privileges belong to the speaker and can be used by our team of professionals.
There’s a 1982 court ruling on spousal privilege in Mississippi called Bayse vs. State. Same-sex marriages don’t have legal validity in Mississippi, so it has yet to be applied in any trials. This is all new territory.
Try not to underestimate the value of having an advocate sensitive to LGBT needs when they’re going through a police investigation, if they’re arrested or if they’re charged. Honesty and candor are crucial factors in the strength of your legal relationship with your lawyer. It is really important to find an attorney that’s easy to talk to and that doesn’t judge you.
A person’s sexual orientation could potentially come up in the court of law. This is something that you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer as early on as possible, so you have someone in your corner who understands this specific issue. Talking about it openly will keep you more confident and help your case.