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EQPA Responds to Supreme Court Decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in two cases involving marriage for gay couples. In the case of U.S. v. Windsor, the Justices ruled the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1993 policy that denies married same-sex couples equal protection under the law, unconstitutional. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court dismissed the case, leaving in place a Federal District Court ruling that found Prop 8, California’s ban on marriage for gay couples, unconstitutional.

In response to these decisions, Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, the state’s leading advocacy organization for gay and transgender people, released the following statement:

“The striking down of DOMA brings about a joyous day for loving, married couples and their families. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.

The historic ruling on Prop 8 means the swift restoration of the freedom to marry in California. Now same-sex couples can legally marry in 13 states and Washington, DC, and more than 93 million Americans – nearly a third of the population – live in a jurisdiction with marriage for all families. Because of today’s rulings, all of these families now have access to comprehensive federal and state protections to take care of the ones they love.

While this is a day of celebration for legally married same-sex couples, 37 states — including Pennsylvania — still treat gay and lesbian citizens and their children as unequal and second-class. But work to win the freedom to marry here in the commonwealth will continue.

People all across the country, and right here in the Keystone State, are ready for a conversation about marriage. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to talking with our neighbors about why marriage matters to all Pennsylvania families.”

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3 Comments

  1. Bolton, you ask great questions, and unfortunately we don’t yet know all of the answers. This is why I’ve written that the decisions will create more questions than it will create answers. PA same-sex couples who have valid out-of-state marriage licenses as well as those who do not will need to stay tuned as the ramifications of the decisions are sorted out, and if need be, contact a lawyer for assistance. EVERYONE including the lawyers will be trying to figure these things out.

    But here is what I do know, or at least think is correct.

    You and your partner are probably able to file a joint Federal tax return. The issue may come up however, in the way the State uses numbers from your Fed return. Since the State doesn’t recognize your marriage, but the Fed does, how will that affect your returns?

    As for Social Security, I am less sure of an answer. Some Fed agencies use location-based criteria, and others use other criteria. So, it all depends.

    I’ll be writing more about the DOMA3 ruling later today and will speak to some of these types of questions.

    BTW- I am not a lawyer, and I encourage everyone to seek professional legal advice for all matters that are critical to your relationship.

  2. BoltonWinpenny says:

    More importantly, if I die today, will Jamie get my social security? If this is not the case, I will be moving to a same-sex marriage state.

  3. BoltonWinpenny says:

    Like many of us in Pa.: I have an out of state marriage license. Can my spouse and I file Jointly on my federal tax form?

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