How will the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA affect Texans? - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

How will the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA affect Texans?


A divided Supreme Court made two rulings on Wednesday, affecting the rights of same-sex couples.

In a 5 to 4 vote, the court decided to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples.

In a separate ruling, justices dismissed an appeal regarding California's Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage. The decision sends it back to California officials to decide.

The Defense of Marriage Act defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

"So, even a couple that got married in California, like you suggested, they would not have that marriage recognized by the federal government," said Tyler family law attorney, Linda Hoak.

Hoak said Wednesday's ruling will now give same-sex spouses more than 1,000 federal benefits that many heterosexual spouses have.

"Some of those general benefits are availability for the spousal portion of social security. They also discussed the estate and probate provisions that are impacted by the tax code and what could be recognized along those lines. Another benefit it will impact is accessibility to green cards and visas," Hoak explained. 

She said the Family and Medical Leave Act is also a substantial benefit that could affect Texans and their employers.

"That's one of those benefits that affects a large part of the employers here in Texas," she said.

Texas Representative Kevin Brady released this statement, "It is important to recognize what this ruling does not do. It does not overturn state legislation that defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman. It simply requires the federal government to respect individual state laws regarding marriage in respect to federal benefits."

In the other ruling, California's Proposition 8, the justices said nothing about same-sex marriage itself, but the outcome will probably allow California officials to order the resumption of the same-sex weddings in the state in about a month.

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