How the Defense of Marriage Act Hurts Americans
The Defense of Marriage Act says that the federal government can treat legally married same sex couples differently from all other married couples. DOMA’s unfairness negatively affects Americans from all walks of life.
DOMA Threatens the Security of Senior Citizens
Even though they have worked hard and paid into the system, senior citizens are denied the full protections of programs intended to provide safety nets to older Americans, such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and retirement benefits.
DOMA Hurts Military Families
Although they served our country, military members and veterans who are married to a person of the same sex are unable to provide for their spouses the way that other married service members can. Their spouses are denied the health coverage, housing allowance, and other benefits all other military spouses receive. Most devastatingly, their spouses do not receive emergency notification in the event of the service member’s injury or death, and are not eligible for death benefits.
DOMA Separates Families and Hurts Children
Denying federal marital protections unfairly affects legally married couples and their children. Children suffer when their families are stressed by unfair tax burdens, are denied Social Security parent benefits, and most significantly, when families are physically separated by DOMA. This happens when one parent who is not a legal resident cannot be sponsored for citizenship by their spouse and has to leave the country.
DOMA Discriminates Against Taxpayers
Hard-working, legally married same sex couples cannot file their federal taxes jointly as married, like all other married couples do. When one spouse dies and the other inherits, they have to pay taxes as though inheriting from a stranger – unlike other married couples. When divorcing, same-sex couples are subject to additional tax burdens that other divorcing couples are not subject to.
DOMA Costs Businesses
DOMA makes it more difficult and costly for businesses to fairly and equally provide medical benefits and retirement plans to all their employees. For example, a gay or lesbian employee must pay taxes on the worth of his or her spouse’s medical insurance; some companies like Google, JetBlue, and Morgan Stanley have taken on the burden of reimbursing their employees for this cost.
Excerpted from the full-length publication How DOMA Hurts Americans.