8 Ways Same-Sex Couples Will Benefit If DOMA Is Repealed

As the Supreme Court hears arguments against the constitutionality of DOMA this week, the editorial team at MyBankTracker figured a slideshow should be in order.

DOMA, the defence of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Essentially it prevents same-sex couples from receiving over 1,000 federal benefits that opposite-sex married couples receive.

If DOMA is overturned, that ruling could significantly impact our economy and the financial lives of same-sex married couples. They would have the right to file federal taxes jointly, receive spousal Social Security benefits, and more.


The amount New York widower Edith Windsor is sueing to get back from estate taxes paid when her partner of more than 40 years died. Currently, widows of federally-recognised marriages do not have to pay taxes on their deceased spouse's estate, whereas same-sex widows pay a 35% tax on anything in excess of the $5 million exemption.


The amount a same-sex couple with a combined income of $100,000 would save by filing taxes jointly if their income was split $70,000 to $30,000. That amount would change if the gap between spousal incomes were to grow. If one spouse were to make $100,000 while the other made nothing, they would owe $11,858 filing jointly compared to the whopping $19,585 they would owe if they filed separately -- a 65% difference.


How much couples would save filing taxes jointly if they evenly made $50,000 each. Filing jointly doesn't always equal savings, and some couples will owe more if they file jointly -- especially if their combined income no longer qualifies for certain deductions and credits.


The amount New York City couple Mikey Rox and Earl Morrow would save on taxes paid on health insurance benefits Mikey receives from Earl's plan. Same-sex couples are taxed on medical benefits received through their partner's employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Additionally, they lose out on thousands of dollars in spousal Social Security benefits as well as survivors benefits if their spouse or partner were to pass away.


The sum Los Angeles couple Adele and Jennifer Hoppe-House expect to get back if DOMA is struck down. If the courts rule DOMA is unconstitutional, couples can file protective refund claims with the IRS and amend their returns to file jointly, resulting in a refund for the extra tax they paid in the past three years.

$9.5 Billion

The amount the wedding and divorce industry could receive if same-sex marriage is legalized. There are nearly 800,000 same-sex couples currently living together.

$250 million

The revenue NYC received in municipalities from wedding licence fees when the ban on gay marriage was lifted.


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