After the demise of DOMA, what's next for legally married GLBT's living in a state that does not recognize their union
By ms.equality on August 07, 2013
Well, boys and girls, we've made some progress. The Supreme Court declared portions of DOMA unconstitutional, paving the way for many legally married gays and lesbians to access a host of federal benefits that they had previously been denied. As an "until recently married" lesbian, I did not realize the full extent of DOMA, ie. that it affected over 1000 federal statutes.
So, I've added my partner to my FEDERAL health benefits as my spouse. I can alter my FEGLI and my TSP. However, because I live in a state that does not recognize my marriage (Virginia) and because the SCOTUS decision stopped short of mandating all states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, my partner and I are in limbo when it comes to certain other benefits.
Take the IRS for example. So far, they have not issued any guidance regarding the SCOTUS ruling. There has been commentary on both sides of the aisle, namely that the IRS will decide that you must be living in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage in order to file a joint federal tax return, or, alternatively, that it will follow OPM guidance and those who are legally married, regardless of where they reside, will be able to file a joint federal tax return.
I find it interesting that OPM was able to act extremely quickly, but that all other agencies that need to issue guidance in light of the SCOTUS ruling are moving more slowly. I would really like to know what the IRS has to say. Another agency that needs to issue guidance is the Social Security Administration. My partner called me the day of the ruling and said "now you are entitled to my social security!" Well, not so fast. Historically, social security claims have been based on domicile. We currently live in Virginia, and Virginia does not and is not required to recognize our marriage. Unless the SSA deviates from what has been the norm, my partner and I are out of luck - unless we move!
So, here I wait (impatiently) for more decisions regarding the fate of our marriage. What we can do and what we can't!
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