You’re a Gay Couple. Now What Do You Do?

June 27, 2013 – In The News

Julia Swain was quoted in the Bloomberg article “You're a Gay Couple. Now What Do You Do?.” While the full text can be found in the June 27, 2013 issue of Bloomberg, a synopsis is noted below.

For same-sex couples, the Supreme Court's gay marriage decisions have an immediate dollars-and-cents impact.

In two rulings on June 26, the court cleared the way for gay marriage in California and struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that denied benefits to married same-sex couples. For many same-sex couples, this means access to the 1,100-plus federal marriage benefits previously denied them, from Social Security and health insurance to federal pensions and the right to sponsor spouses for immigration. Many married gay couples will be able to file federal taxes together for the first time, bringing tax cuts for some and increases for others.

The Supreme Court’s DOMA decision could create stark contrasts. In Pennsylvania, for example, a same-sex couple gets no recognition at all. If they get married out of state, they can't even file for divorce in Pennsylvania, which is a major inconvenience, says Julia Swain.

If the married couple moved to Philly's New Jersey suburbs, however, their same-sex marriage would be recognized as a civil union. And starting this summer, crossing the river to Delaware would get them full marriage rights -- local, state and federal. In the same way that people choose where to live based on schools, says Swain, "gay couples should consider moving to a gay-friendly state."