By now we've all been inundated with reports of the new law passed in North Carolina, by voter amendment, that outlaws same sex marriage. There are, however, some aspects of the law that are not receiving the same level of coverage.

NC law already bans same sex marriage. The recently passed Amendment One redefines a marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union recognized by the state. This means that any other form of marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership may no longer be legally recognized under the state's laws.

As North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat, pointed out,  “If you’re in a hospital, in your last illness and you’ve been with a partner for 30 years, if the law is that only certain family members may visit you — you can’t pick who your family members are[] You can’t pick who your family is. The government has decided for you.”

However, the potential ramifications of this amendment go beyond death bed rights. Consider the implications of the fact that laws such as child custody and divorce, wills and trust, or even health insurance, may become completely unavailable, even for straight couples, who do not fit the marriage paradigm.

It will be interesting to see if and when the legality of this law is challenged, and whether it withstands constitutionality scrutiny.

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