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Married same-sex couples around the country celebrated their new status under federal law after the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act. And following those celebrations, many called their accountants. The new law could mean a host of changes to taxes, benefits and retirement plans for same-sex couples and their families. Locally, residents are grappling with differences in laws governing same-sex marriage in the District, Virginia and Maryland. Kojo talks with experts about some of the practical questions surrounding the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA.
Last month the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and granted the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples have to legally married same-sex couples. The ruling prompted many practical questions and concerns about implementing the rights, from insurance and taxes to adoption and marriage. As The Kojo Nnamdi Show continues to look at what comes next for same-sex couples, their families and employers, we asked listeners in the Public Insight Network how the DOMA ruling affects them.
Listeners said family issues, such as health care and car ownership, were chief among the legal, medical and financial challenges they faced as a result of existing laws governing same-sex marriage.
While the broad impact of the high court's ruling won't be understood for some time, individuals and families are grappling with specific questions and concerns about the decision. William N. commutes to work from Maryland, a state that recognizes his same-sex marriage, to Virginia, where he isn't considered legally married. "It's a very odd situation when you think about it. It's not something that opposite sex couples really could fathom to have your marital status change just by driving to work," he said.
Jeremy E.'s daughter, who is gay, had hoped to hold her marriage ceremony and reception all in one state. Instead, for legal reasons, the family separated the ceremony and celebration. "It would have been easier, it would have been nicer if we could do it all in one place," he said.
Mariann S. and her partner had a civil union in Vermont more than a decade ago. Now they live in Maryland and she says as federal and state laws change it's very confusing to navigate how the couple's status compares to those who are legally married. "We don't know where we stand," she said.