LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Married same-sex couples were overjoyed with the Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday to strike down a key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy charged that DOMA discriminates against legal same-sex marriages by restricting them from benefits other heterosexual couples receive.
“It tells those (same-sex) couples and all the world that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition,” he wrote.
KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reported that more than 1,000 federal statutes and regulations will be affected by the high court’s decision, including federal tax laws, bankruptcy rules, housing regulations, social security benefits and veterans’ benefits.
In states where gay marriage is legal:
- Married couples can now apply for Social Security benefits on their spouse’s earning records.
- They can file joint federal tax returns.
- Many couples, including federal workers, will be able to add their same-sex spouse to their health insurance plan.
- The rules of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act will now extend to same-sex married couples.
Art Andrade and Tom Carpenter, who recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, said they’re happy they will finally be able to enjoy the many financial benefits of being married.
“We can now jointly file tax returns. Before we were filing individual taxes and now we have the benefit that other married couples in this country have,” said Andrade.
“The tide has changed,” said Carpenter. “We’ve reached the tipping point and it’s just inevitable.”
Attorney Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, however, said the ruling was actually relatively narrow and could’ve gone much further.
“They could have declared that homosexual marriage was protected as a constitutional right under the 14th Amendment. They didn’t. They could have held that this right was broad and circumvented the rights of the states. They didn’t. We have a very clear resolve that homosexual marriage is not going to be read into the Constitution,” he said.