In a 5-4 ruling dated June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court justices strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, saying it is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court case U.S. v. Windsor, ruling said that New York’s decision to authorize gay marriage was a proper exercise of its authority, and reflected, “the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.”
What this means is that gay couples who are married will be recognized on the federal level, regardless of their state of residence. So for those couples who have married in a state where gay marriage is lawful, and return to a home state that does not allow for gay marriage, they will now have the same federal tax, retirement contribution, health insurance and estate plan benefits of those heterosexual couples who have married.
As an estate and family law attorney, this decision resonates
with me for my clients who will now enjoy the same rights and privileges
concerning tax and estate planning as every other straight married couple.
The ruling of the Supreme Court has many gay couples rejoicing, and the public at large, who seems now narrowly in favor of gay marriage at 53% in a poll conducted by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, applauding and cheering.
In the time to come, the far reaching effects of this decision will be developed, but for today, married gay couples can rest assured that they will be afforded the same federal benefits as straight couples, and they can consider revisions to the current financial and estate plans, consistent with the protections now guaranteed to them by this decision.
Julie A. Dialessi-Lafley, Esq.