Listen MPR News speaks with Dale Carpenter of the University of Minnesota Law School about the Supreme Court's Decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Jun 26, 2013
Supreme Court justices issued two 5-4 rulings that struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married same-sex couples, and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.
One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.
The other was a technical legal ruling that left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
After Aug. 1, when same-sex marriage is legal in Minnesota, what will the DOMA ruling mean for federal tax status for same-sex couples?
Same-sex couples who were married in Minnesota or in other states that allow same-sex marriage and now live in Minnesota will be able to file their federal and state taxes jointly just as opposite-sex couples are allowed to now.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: FULL COVERAGE
• DOMA struck down, Prop. 8 dismissed
• Minnesota activitis react to marriage rulings
• Today's Question: What's your reaction?
• Q&A: The impact on Minnesota tax, benefits laws
• Live blog archive: DOMA ruled unconstitutional
• Download and read opinion: United States vs. Windsor (DOMA)
• Download and read opinion: Hollingsworth vs. Perry (Prop. 8)
What about Social Security benefits?
Under DOMA, same-sex couples could not receive Social Security survivor benefits if one spouse passed away before the other though opposite-sex couples can. Because the law was overturned, same-sex couples will be eligible for all of the Social Security benefits opposite-sex couples currently receive.
What are some of the other major federal benefits same-sex couples will qualify for?
It's a long list. Federal employees in same-sex marriages will be able to get health insurance for their spouse. Couples in the military will be eligible for spousal benefits including housing, health insurance, survivors' pensions, PX privileges and counseling when the other spouse is deployed. If one spouse is an immigrant, that spouse will be eligible for a spousal green card and, eventually, citizenship. Same-sex couples will also qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act and be able to take time off from work to care for a sick partner.
What impact could the Calfiornia Proposition 8 ruling have on Minnesota?
Very little, especially since Minnesota's legislature approved same-sex marriages earlier this year. Several of the possible outcomes outlined by the gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal would apply only to California.