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Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Element of Defense of Marriage Act
WASHINGTON--The Supreme Court says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.
"Extremely happy to know that I'm finally being recognized," said John Gantt of Dayton. He and Scott Didier have been together for 20 years.
"And when New York legalized same sex marriage a couple years ago we went to NY State and were married; it'll be 2 years this coming July," said Gantt.
But now they live in Ohio. One of the many states that doesn't recognize gay marriage and still doesn't have to. But now couples in Ohio and federal employees can now access federal benefits, but when it comes to non-federal benefits, it gets a little dicey.
"Would Ohio be required to respect the marriage of a person in California in respect to their benefits? I think the answer is yes," said attorney John Rion.
He says the Supreme Court deciding to give federal benefits to gay couples set a standard for every state or every organization who says they only give benefits to a marriage between a man and a woman.
There are more than 1,000 federal rights and benefits of marriage from Social Security survivor benefits to federal tax benefits to federal employee health and retirement benefits. For the non-federal benefits like hospital visits, Rion says, it's only a matter of time.
"I just don't think that based on this decision that any state or any hospital or any jail can discriminate," Rion said. "If I was a house counsel for a hospital I will tell the admissions you to proclaim all married people equal to avoid a lawsuit."
But as for John & Scott, Wednesday was just a start for their benefit equality.
"We were both extremely happy," said Gantt. "It's a very emotional day for LGBT people."
Click here to read the rights for gay couples.
Crowd Awaits Supreme Court's Same Sex Marriage Decision
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Crowds are gathering outside the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of two gay marriage decisions.
One person held a rainbow flag and another wrapped himself in a rainbow shawl, and a number of people carried signs with messages including "2 moms make a right" and "`I Do' Support Marriage Equality."
Thirty-four-year-old Ian Holloway of Los Angeles got to the court around 7 a.m. Holloway said he and his partner had planned to get married in March but when the justices decided to hear the case involving California's ban on gay marriage they pushed back their date.
He said, "We have rings ready. We're ready to go as soon as the decision comes down."
Holloway said he was optimistic the justices would strike down Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.
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