Defense of Marriage Act

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Many same-gender couples eligible for big tax refunds | VIDEO

NEW YORK -- Married same-sex couples who paid extra tax because the federal government didn't recognize their marriage are now eligible to get some of that money back.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defined marriage as between a man and a woman, which meant married same-sex couples had to file their taxes individually. But the Supreme Court's summer ruling overturned that law.

Kentucky wants marriage lawsuit tossed out of federal court

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Commonwealth of Kentucky has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the state’s ban on same-gender marriage.

Gregory Bourke and Michael De Leon, who were married in Canada almost a decade ago, filed a lawsuit in July in federal court in Louisville. They want the state to recognize legal marriages from other states or countries so that they will be given the same rights and benefits of opposite-gender couples who wed.

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Legal Lesson: The importance of DOMA being struck down

(Editor's note: SDGLN welcomes James Rudolph as a legal columnist for SDGLN. He will write about immigration issues. See his photo below on the left and read his mini-biography at the bottom of his first column.)

First, congratulations to having a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) overturned. That was a very important step in gaining rights and the respect of the federal government. That U.S. Supreme Court ruling directly impacts equality in immigration rights.

DOMA heroine Edith Winsor to headline Constitution Day luncheon

WASHINGTON – Edith Windsor, the winning plaintiff in the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, will be one of the guests at a Constitution Day event on Sept. 17.

Windsor and her legal team, including co-counsel Pamela Karlan, will speak about their remarkable legal journey to advance equality for LGBT Americans. Roberta Kaplan, Supreme Court Counsel of Record in the United States v. Winsor lawsuit, will also be part of the panel.

U.S. gays face challenges serving abroad

Austin Watkins had reason to celebrate when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, marking a breakthrough in gay rights and making his husband eligible for federal benefits everywhere in the United States.

But as a civilian defense worker deployed in Japan, Watkins faces a unique barrier. It turns out that a “status of forces agreement,” signed 53 years ago by the United States and Japan, does not recognize same-sex marriage. That prevents him from living with his spouse in Okinawa.

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HHS issues first guidance on Supreme Court decision on DOMA

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives.

This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.

Court: DOMA decision requires payment of death benefits to surviving same-gender spouse

PHILADELPHIA -- Chalk up another win in court.

Judge C. Darnell Jones II of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today ordered payment of death benefits to Jennifer Tobits, the widow of Sarah Ellyn Farley, under a profit-sharing plan administered by Farley’s employer, the law firm Cozen O’Conner P.C.

Ohio judge rules for same-gender couple, one of whom is dying

James Obergefell has lived with the love of his life for 20 years before they married two weeks ago.

They also hoped to be buried next to each other, to spend eternity together, but the state of Ohio and his spouse’s relatives won’t let him – because he married another man, John Arthur, who is dying of ALS.

GOP leadership to stop spending millions defending DOMA

WASHINGTON – Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican leadership have finally decided to stop defending Defense of Marriage (DOMA) lawsuits in federal court.

To date, the House’s so-called Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), controlled by Boehner and his GOP lieutenants, have spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money to defend the discriminatory law.

BLAG today filed a legal document in a district court in Massachusetts asking to “withdraw as a party defendant.”

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COMMENTARY: Black, lesbian and getting mixed messages from Supreme Court

I now have had ample time to recover — from both shock and in awe — from the Supreme Court’s historic decisions announced in the final week of June.

My awe moment is Wednesday, June 26. It was a great day for me as a lesbian American. Historic decisions in both Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry were announced. Not only was DOMA finally struck down, but so too the anti-gay proponents of California’s Proposition 8.

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