Almost one month after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to gut DOMA, legal analysts and experts are still trying to make sense as to how it specifically impacts same-sex couples and their benefits. While the decision was explicit in terms of including all “lawful marriages”, the situation remains less-than-clear for those living in what legal scholars refer to as the 36 “mini-DOMA” states, according to an editorial released in yesterday’s Washington Post.
According to Bloomberg, approximately one-third of the roughly 130,000 married same-sex couples live in such states that have laws in place forbidding the practice and/or recognition of same-sex marriage. As WaPo and SCOTUS Blog have already argued, this could certainly prove problematic for federal agencies wishing to determine which couples are “legally married”. Do said agencies use the guidelines laid down by the state of the couple’s residence, or the state that legally married them? WaPo has already pointed out that:
“Each agency has its regulations, and some define marriage based on where a couple resides rather than where the spouses were married — obviously inhospitable to same-sex couples living in the states that don’t recognize their marriages.”