1. Can I get married in Missouri at this time?
No. Missouri passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 banning same sex marriage. Currently within the U.S. only 17 states and the District of Columbia allow same sex couples to apply for a marriage license.
2. The DOMA decision by the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, correct?
This is only partially true; Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibited federal benefits for same sex couples, was declared unconstitutional. Other parts of DOMA, including Section 2 which allows other states to not recognize marriage between same sex couples, are still law.
3. If DOMA was ruled unconstitutional, how does it affect me and my spouse in Missouri?
If you were legally married in a state which allows marriage, or had a marriage performed in another country which allows marriage, you may have some benefits.
After DOMA: What It Means for You
On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This ruling means that legally married same sex couples can be recognized federally. As different federal agencies roll out policies and procedures to recognize this new reality, PROMO and the ACLU are attempting to keep you updated. At this time, marriage for same sex couples are not recognized by the state of Missouri; however, some benefits will apply to couples regardless of where they live.
Below are a list of benefits that are applicable to residents of Missouri who are legally married*.
- The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service ruled that all same sex couples who are legally married will be treated the same as opposite sex married couples for federal tax purposes — even if they live in a state that doesn’t recognize their union.Beginning with the 2013 tax year, legally married, same-sex couples will be allowed to file federal returns together as “married filing jointly” or individually as “married filing separately.” There is also an option of filing refund claims for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. At this point it is unknown how state returns will be impacted; we are awaiting more guidance. For more information on amending your federal tax return and filing jointly, visit href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308.html.">http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308.html. PROMO and the ACLU also strongly recommend consulting a tax professional.
- The Department of Health and Human Services modified the recognition of legally married couples with regards to Medicaid coverage for nursing homes. All beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to nursing home care where a spouse lives. For more information on this release please see this link href="http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/08/20130829a.html.">http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/08/20130829a.html.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide spousal benefits to legally married same sex couples. For more information, visit here http://www.advocate.com/politics/military/2013/09/04/married-gay-veterans-receive-benefits.Same sex active duty members of the military will be granted up to 7 days of leave for their wedding if located in the Continental United States and up to 10 days for those outside of the Continental United States.
- Office of Personnel Management extended benefits to legally married same sex couples including health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision insurance.
- Legally married same sex couples can file a petition for their spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage. The eligibility will be determined according to immigration law and because of the same sex marriage. These couples should file a Form I-130.
- Legally married same sex couples can file for bankruptcy jointly or or separately. Make sure to consult with a bankruptcy advisor about your specific situation.
- Legally married same sex couples that work for major multi-state corporations will likely receive healthcare and pension benefit plans. Stay tuned for updates on this as this was recently released. http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/09/18/erisa-guidance-for-gay-couples/
- Social Security benefits do not currently apply unless you reside in one of the 13 states or the District of Columbia where marriage for same sex couples is legal. However, if you believe you have an eligible claim for Social Security, and are legally married, you are encouraged to submit a claim through your Social Security Office. The Social Security Administration has indicated they are still evaluating claims in this post-Windsor landscape.
What does and does not apply to legally married couples in the State of Missouri continues to evolve. Please check back on PROMO’s website, www.promoonline.org, or the ACLU’s website, http://www.aclu-em.org/, for further updates.
4. How is PROMO working to make sure same sex couples can legally wed in Missouri?
PROMO is committed to seeing marriage equality in Missouri. There are a number of factors at play, from judicial to electoral and ballot initiatives that could bring about marriage for same sex couples in Missouri. As we understand the most strategic and direct way for it to be a reality for Missouri, we will keep you up to date.
5. What is the best way to keep up to date?
Keep checking back on our website for additional updates on all of our efforts, both on ho