Same-Sex Marriages A Year after U.S. v. Windsor

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same sex/GLBTA on Monday, July 7, 2014.

Last Year, the Supreme Court struck the Defense of Marriage Act as an unconstitutional deprivation of equal liberty. Since then, court rulings have overturned many state laws, not Florida’s, that said marriage was only between a man and a woman. What else has happened?

I’ve written before that same-sex marriages are recognized by the federal government now. As the Washington Post reports, some basic rights are still complicated for same-sex couples. The Justice Department just released a report showing the following changes:

Social Security: Couples living in states that recognize their marriages are entitled to Social Security spousal benefits. But Social Security benefits need to be based on the law of the state the married couple lives in, preventing Floridians from taking advantage of spousal benefits.

Veteran benefits: The VA is required to base spousal benefits on the laws of the state the couple lives in. That means Floridians may be denied marriage-based veteran benefits, such as the ability to file for dependency claims and survivor pensions.

Taxes: The IRS lets same-sex couples file as married on their tax returns, some states require same-sex couples to file as single on their state tax returns

Family leave: The Labor Department proposed a rule last week that all employees should be eligible to care for a same-sex spouses regardless of their state.

Health care: About 2/3 of Fortune 500 companies offered health benefits to same-sex spouses, but had to pay taxes on those benefits because the marriage wasn’t recognized. Now, those companies can offer health benefits tax free.

Immigration: The Department of Homeland Security announced that same-sex marriages will be treated the same as opposite-sex marriages for isponsoring same-sex spouses and filing to get visas for fiancés.

A year after Windsor, change has happened piecemeal for same-sex couples. Yet, every day witnesses another court decision extending Windsor. Florida still lags behind.

The Washington Post story can be read here.