Marriage Equality USA

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Current Status


  • Under U.S. administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, in the 1970's the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided to forge closer ties to the U.S. rather than to seek independence. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the U.S. was approved in 1975. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978. The Marianas are self-governing with a locally elected governor, lieutenant governor and legislature. The United States government handles defense and foreign relations. Local residents are U.S. citizens by birth, but do not pay federal taxes or vote in the presidential elections; instead, they elect a non-voting representative to the U.S. government.
  • Following the 2013 SCOTUS ruling in United States v. Windsor, both the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) wrote that for their purposes the term "spouse" refers to any individual who is lawfully married under any state law, including individuals married to a person of the same sex who were legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, but who are domiciled in a state that does not recognize such marriages. This applies to the Northern Mariana Islands.

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