KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United States continues to move towards a post Roe world after the right to abortion was overturned by the Supreme Court.
"This decision has sent shock waves through the legal community because the Supreme Court spent about 100 years developing a line of case law that said you have the right to privacy," Michelle Ewert, with the LGBTQ Bar Association of Greater Kansas City, said.
The Court’s majority opinion is focused on a strict Constitutional interpretation.
"The Court is saying we’re no longer going to look at privacy rights based on our current understanding of what privacy rights are, we’re only going to look at rights that existed at the time amendments were passed," Jim Breckenridge, who is also with the LGBTQ Bar Association of Greater Kansas City, said.
Supreme Court rulings that legalize same-sex marriage (Obergefell vs Hodges) and consensual same-sex relations (Lawrence vs Texas) follow right to privacy precedent, but the same reasoning that overturned Roe could mean those rulings are overturned next, leaving it up to the states.
"Missouri’s Constitution still provides that marriage is a union between one man and one woman," Breckenridge said. "Kansas still has anti-sodomy laws on the books saying that consensual same-sex relationships between people of the same sex are illegal."
If same-sex marriages aren’t federally recognized, the consequences for couples are significant.
"It’s time to get your estate plans in order, we can’t really rely on marriage as a protection for how we want to order our lives, our personal lives anymore," Breckenridge said.
Regarding powers of attorney decisions, Ewert says, "If there isn’t a deferral to spouses or partners, it’s especially important that it is down in writing."
Reorganizing affairs comes at a real cost.
"What I’ve noticed here in Kansas City is anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 if you want to do a completely new estate plan," Breckenridge said. "A lot of people in the United States don’t have $3-10K of what would be a discretionary expense or something that’s not part of their regular budget, so yeah there’s a very real human impact here."