The US Supreme Court announced its ruling that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. What does this mean for gay couples? The Court’s decision applies to certain federal rights that were restricted or eliminated depending on whether a married couple is heterosexual or homosexual.
Rights that will be affected include:
1. Social Security Benefits
2. Immigration Status/Rights
3. Federal Income Tax Benefits & Obligations
4. Estate Tax
5. Employer-Provided Health Insurance Benefits
6. Military Family Benefits.
What does the decision mean for gay couples in Alabama and Mississippi? Right now, not much. The changes only affect the rights of gay couples who are legally married, and gay marriage is only legal in Washington DC, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Maine, Washington, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota. It remains to be seen how the other states will respond as this issue develops, but it will be interesting to watch from a legal, political, and social point of view.