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Supreme Court Overturns Parts of Defense of Marriage Act

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling declaring the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act invalid. The Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is a violation of the fifth amendment.

The controversial decision means that same sex couples will be entitled to over 1100 federal benefits. The court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented same sex marriages from receiving those benefits.

Where states allow same sex marriage those marriages are now accepted as fully valid under federal law. The federal government is now required to accept the validity of same sex marriage.

This will have enormous affect on inheritance and estate laws as the same sex marriage partner would have the same rights of an opposite sex marriage couple. For example, when in the case of a wealthy traditional husband and wife couple when one dies, the other can defer the federal estate tax on that estate until after the death of the second spouse allowing the surviving spouse to continue to live the lifestyle that the two had enjoyed in life. Until today, in a same sex marriage the surviving same sex partner would have to pay the estate taxes shortly after the death of the first spouse of the even if the same sex couple had a will giving them all the assets.

The Obama administration has already refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and actually supported the challenge of the law. According to the U.S. Census there are over 606,000 same sex house holds in this country.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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