Mass. gay couples to NY: DOMA denies you benefits
(Boston) As same-sex couples in New York prepare this weekend to tie the knot, their brethren in Massachusetts – the first state to legalize gay marriage – have some advice.
Enjoy the wedding because afterward, they will realize that there are 1,000 or so benefits gay couples can’t get because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act: Joint federal tax returns, federal health plans for spouses, and access to spouses’ federal pensions.
“Let them enjoy their joy, but they will soon realize that their marriage is not being seen equally at the federal level,” said Dorene Bowe-Shulman, who married her longtime partner, Mary, in 2004 in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage.
New York’s law takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, with the state where the gay rights movement began more than 40 years ago joining five other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage.
While many married gay couples are hoping for the repeal of the 1996 law, known as DOMA, the measure’s supporters are pushing back, arguing that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that repeal would violate the views of most Americans.