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Guide to Same-Sex Couples After Historic Ruling on DOMA

Supreme Court

SOURCE: AP/Susan Walsh

The U.S. Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington, D.C.

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The Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is an enormous victory for loving, married couples and their families, and affirms that they deserve equal treatment under the law. This victory demonstrates the importance of access to marriage and gives married same-sex couples access to the tangible benefits of the federal safety net, allowing them to better protect one another and their children.

The “After DOMA: What It Means for You” LGBT Organizations Fact Sheet Series details many of the ways federal agencies accord legal respect to married same-sex couples. The guide includes 14 fact sheets on the following topics: bankruptcy; Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA; federal employee benefits; Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA; immigration; Medicaid; Medicare; military spousal benefits; private employment benefits; Social Security; Supplemental Security Income; taxes; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF; and veteran spousal benefits.

Until same-sex couples can marry in every state in the nation, there will be uncertainty about the extent to which same-sex spouses will receive federal marital-based protections nationwide. For federal programs that assess marital status based on the law of a state that does not respect marriages of same-sex couples, those state laws will likely pose obstacles for legally married couples and surviving spouses in accessing federal protections and responsibilities.*

The fact sheet series is produced together by: American Civil Liberties Union, Center for American Progress, Family Equality Council, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and OutServe-SLDN.

Read the fact sheets here:

* These fact sheets are intended to provide general information regarding major areas of federal marriage-based rights and protections offered by federal agencies. Before making a decision, it is essential that same-sex couples consult an attorney for individualized legal advice. People must make careful decisions about when and where to marry, even as advocates work toward equality.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org