Today was a huge win in the name of marriage equality for all families. Today, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and declared Prop 8 lacked standing, which effectively means marriage equality will go forward in California.
A historic moment for the United States of America, today’s ruling means married gay and lesbian couples are recognized federally and couples may once again marry in California again. Some federal benefits that will affect these couples include military family benefits, social security benefits, multiple tax categories, hospital visitation rights, and healthcare benefits.
With Section 3 being struck down, those that are married in states in which same-sex marriage is legal, will have full access to federal benefits now. However, in Missouri, those couples that have been married in states in which it is legal, access to these benefits will be complex.
The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law September 21, 1996. Section 3 of this Act defines marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. This prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing a legal union between same-sex couples. On November 9, 2010, the United States v. Windsor case was filed on behalf of Edith Windsor. She was forced to pay extra taxes when her longtime spouse passed away. On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Prop 8 was the ballot initiative in 2008 which blocked same-sex couples from having their relationships recognized by the State of California. Effectively lack of standing in this case means marriages can resume in California.
“Today history was made and love prevailed. As we go forth from today, we should celebrate this moment, but realize full, equal and just treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is still a challenge,” stated A. J. Bockelman, Executive Director for PROMO. “Understanding the impact on Missouri will take a bit of time, but rest assured, we will continue to fight for justice on behalf of the community in everything from basic protections to marriage rights.”