Orr v. Orr
SCOTUS - 1979
- AL's alimony statute provide that husbands but not wives may be required to pay alimony upon divorce.
- SCOTUS held unconstitutional.
- Are gender classifications based upon sex-role stereotypes permissible under the Equal Protection Clause?
- Gender classifications based upon sex-role stereotypes are not permissible under the Equal Protection Clause.
- The purported purpose is to provide help for needy spouses, using sex as a proxy for need.
- This is an important gov't objective.
- However, the classification at issue is not substantially related to the achievement of this purpose.
- There is no need to use sex as a proxy for need since the need of the spouses is considered in the divorce proceedings.
- The individualized hearings can determine who has need and determine alimony based upon that, not sex.
- Thus, the state's purpose can be served by a gender neutral classification.
- It seems that the statute announces that AL believes that wives should play a dependent role in the family dynamic.
- The gender role stereotype being perpetuated is in contradiction with equal protection.
- Gender-role stereotype, found unconstitutional.