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Some must read economic news from Court’s ruling on gay marriage

Chau Tu Jun 19, 2013
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Update 10:30am EST, June 26, 2013: In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which denies same-sex couples federal benefits. And has ruled that the decision on California’s Prop 8, banning same sex marriage, was made incorrectly because the private party that brought the case didn’t have legal standing.

The legality of DOMA was brought under a case known as United States v. Windsor which denied federal benefits to legally married gays and lesbians in the 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow same-sex marriage. Prop 8 was brought to the Court under the case Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Now that the rulings are known and experts are debating the exact contours of what the court did today, we thought we’d examine the economics surrounding the decisions:

  • Business owners in some states worried that bans on same-sex marriage were bad for business.
  • Despite what you may be hearing today, these rulings may not immediately make tax filings any more simple for same-sex couples.
  • The woman at the heart of United States v. Windsor, Edith Windsor, had to pay some $360,000 in estate tax after her wife died because the Defense of Marriage Act wouldn’t let the I.R.S. recognize their marriage. That’s just one of the many lesser-known benefits of gay marriage.
  • Just asking the Supreme Court to consider your case can cost you anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000 in D.C. hourly lawyer rates alone.
  • Back in February, major tech companies — including Apple, Facebook and eBay — stood out among 200 employers who signed a “friend of the court” brief, stating their support of same-sex marriage.
  • Meanwhile, the shift of public opinion towards supporting same-sex marriage means political action committees (PACs) are also deciding to set their sights — and funds — on politicians who have already voiced their support.
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