Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is a U.S. federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states and which restricted federal marriage benefits. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA had codified the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Section 3 of DOMA was found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. The U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional on June 26, 2013, “as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” [ Wikipedia → ]

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais,  APBarack Obama

House backs bill to sue president for not enforcing federal laws, such as DOMA

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
WASHINGTON -- Casting Barack Obama as a president run amok, the House voted on Wednesday for a bill that would expedite congressional lawsuits against the chief executive for failure to enforce federal laws. [ Read more → ]
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Citing DOMA ruling, Holder applies same-sex marriage rights to Justice Dept.

Saturday, February 8, 2014
WASHINGTON -- In an assertion of same-sex marriage rights, Attorney General Eric Holder is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling to the Justice Department, announcing Saturday that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages. [ Read more → ]
Marriage equality supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, waiting for decisions in cases involving California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA’s demise creates pathway to overturning state bans on gay marriage

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act would create a pathway for more challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage. They were right. [ Read more → ]
KHON-TVGenora Dancel Kathryn Dennis

Hawaii same-sex marriage pioneer who sparked national debate weds partner

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
HONOLULU -- One of the Hawaii women who sparked the national same-sex marriage battle with a lawsuit more than 20 years ago is now legally married to another woman. [ Read more → ]

Social Security begins processing survivor benefits for same-sex spouses

Monday, December 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration (SSA) said Monday it has begun processing, and paying, some survivor’s benefits for married, same-sex couples. [ Read more → ]
Arne Duncan

Married, gay students to receive equal treatment in college loan applications

Friday, December 13, 2013
WASHINGTON -- Students in same-sex marriages will be treated the same as their straight married classmates when it comes to federal college loan applications, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday in a shift that reflects this year's Supreme Court ruling that broadened gay rights. [ Read more → ]

Pope Francis named Time magazine’s Person of the Year

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
NEW YORK -- Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time. [ Read more → ]

Va. tax department implements ‘hateful’ guidelines for married, same-sex couples

Monday, December 2, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. -- The state of Virginia has released new tax guidelines for legally married same-sex couples, establishing what is being called some of the most complicated and harshest policies by any state tax department against same-sex couples. [ Read more → ]

New Jersey, neighboring Pennsylvania spotlight same-sex marriage efforts

Saturday, October 19, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania and New Jersey are on tracks that could lead to the Northeast being the first full region in the country to legalize same-sex marriage -- but the routes are hardly parallel and the horsepower anything but equal. [ Read more → ]

Utah says married, same-sex couples must file state taxes separately

Friday, October 11, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY -- State officials are notifying gay couples that Utah's policy about joint tax returns is unchanged despite recent federal recognition of same-sex couples. [ Read more → ]

Idaho lawmaker questions legality of new tax rules for married, same-sex couples

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
BOISE, Idaho -- A state lawmaker contends that Idaho's tax collectors risk violating the U.S. Constitution by requiring same-sex couples who are legally married elsewhere to do extra work when filing their state income taxes. [ Read more → ]
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.)

Louisiana, Jindal administration at odds with federal benefits rules

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Federal regulations are loosening to offer more benefits to same-sex married couples around the nation, but not so in Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is complicating how couples can get those federal benefits. [ Read more → ]

Kansas latest state to rule married, gay couples must file taxes as singles

Saturday, October 5, 2013
WICHITA, Kan. -- Kansas tax officials issued a ruling Friday saying same-sex couples must file their state income tax returns as if each person were single, even if they filed as married on their federal returns. [ Read more → ]
Montana state capitol in Helena, Mont.

Montana: Legally married same-sex couples may not file joint state tax return

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
HELENA, Mont. -- Montana's state Revenue Director said Tuesday that same-sex couples legally married in other states may not file joint state income-tax returns. [ Read more → ]

ExxonMobil to offer benefits to married, same-sex couples in U.S.

Friday, September 27, 2013
NEW YORK -- Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday that it will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. for the first time starting next week. [ Read more → ]
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

‘Religious Freedom’ bill an effort ‘to reincarnate the Defense of Marriage Act’

Thursday, September 19, 2013
WASHINGTON -- A group of lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to "prohibit discrimination through the federal tax code" against individuals or institutions that exercise religious conscience regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. [ Read more → ]
Ryan Conroy, U.S. Air ForceTech. Sgt. Stacy Shunk, and Master Sgt. Angela Shunk.

USAF lesbian couple first to receive ‘Join Spouse’ assignment

Saturday, September 14, 2013
Just three months after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, a lesbian couple in the U.S. Air Force has learned they will receive an assignment together under the service’s Join Spouse program, the first same-sex couple to obtain the joint assignment. [ Read more → ]
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)

GOP Senator targets revised marriage leave policy for gay service members

Thursday, September 12, 2013
WASHINGTON -- A ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee said this week that a newly revised Pentagon policy granting marriage leave for gay service members "legally fails to fix the issue of giving same-sex couples a special benefit." [ Read more → ]
Major Gen. John Nichols

Guard commander asks Texas AG for legal opinion on same-sex military benefits

Friday, September 6, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- The commander of the Texas National Guard is asking the state's attorney general for a legal opinion about whether he can process applications for military benefits for same-sex couples under a Pentagon directive even though gay marriage is banned in Texas. [ Read more → ]
Eric Holder

Obama administration will not enforce ban on same-sex veterans benefits

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration said Wednesday it will stop enforcing a law that blocks benefits to partners of military veterans in same-sex marriages. [ Read more → ]
Matt Rourke, APEllen Toplin, right, and Charlene Kurland pose for photographs with their marriage license at a Montgomery County office on Wednesday, despite a state law banning such unions.

Landmark same-sex marriage hearing approaches in Pa.

Sunday, September 1, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- For two months, an elected court clerk in the Philadelphia suburbs has been giving something to same-sex couples they have not been able to get anywhere else: a Pennsylvania marriage license. [ Read more → ]
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

Shaheen: Same-sex benefits bill should apply to Veterans Affairs

Sunday, September 1, 2013
CONCORD, N.H. -- U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire says she's planning to move forward with her bill that would grant benefits to same-sex married couples in the military after learning that legislation is still necessary to grant veterans in same-sex marriages those same benefits. [ Read more → ]

HHS announces first guidance implementing Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling

Thursday, August 29, 2013
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday 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. [ Read more → ]

Veterans Affairs says it will wait on expanding benefits to same-sex couples

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
WASHINGTON - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says Congress or the courts still has more work to do before the VA can provide federal benefits to married, same-sex couples. [ Read more → ]
Stephanie Petelos

Alabama GOP won’t silence same-sex marriage proponent

Saturday, August 24, 2013
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Alabama's Republican Party decided Saturday against a rule meant to silence a young party leader who supports same-sex marriage, even though the party doesn't share her view. [ Read more → ]
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