The Times West Virginian

Opinion

July 7, 2013

Same-sex marriage ruling not end of issue

So, what’s next?

Often, when the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision, there is no road map for how to implement a sweeping change.

Think Brown vs. the Board of Education. That ruling struck down segregation of schools. But none of the justices said how desegregation should work. They didn’t advise that states should do this or avoid that. It isn’t their job. The court simply looks at the constitution and determines whether a law is in violation of the law of the land.

So now, the federal government has to figure out how to establish federal benefits of marriage for same-sex couples within the 12 states that legally recognize the unions. And the president has ordered that the shift be taken care of “swiftly and smoothly.”

Tax adviser Tina Salandra, a CPA in New York City, told NPR that within days after the Supreme Court struck down key provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act, her gay and lesbian clients started to question what they should do next.

“Many of my clients have emailed me, and their question is: Should I file an amended return? Should we file an amended return?” Salandra told NPR. “And my answer to them is we need to really look at their tax situation and whether or not it will be beneficial.”

The dust isn’t settled yet. The IRS promises quick resolution, but you know how fast the federal wheels turn.

And while there are some federal benefits that will be offered to same-sex couples, it doesn’t mean that all benefits will be afforded.

“The decision means that same-sex married couples will have access to some federal benefits, but will not have access to the full range of marriage benefits due to state marriage bans,” Mark Daley told NBC News.

Why? Because so many federal rules rely on the state of residence. And since there are 38 states, like West Virginia, that don’t recognize same-sex unions, it might be an issue that gets more and more complicated.

It’s a complicated issue, but it’s also an emotionally charged issue, too. There are those who have celebrated he decision, and still others who have seen the DOMA decision as the federal government making rules on moral issues.

Where here is controversy, you know that we are there to ask out faithful readers their thoughts on the sauce. Last week on our online poll question, which can be found at www.timeswv.com, “What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act?”

And here’s what our readers had to say.

• It doesn’t affect West Virginia really because gay marriage isn’t recognized here — 6.79 percent.

• It’s 2013 — it’s about time marriage equality was addressed — 13.58 percent.

• This is a moral issue and not for the federal government to decide — 79.63 percent.

We’ll see how it all shakes out. It certainly isn’t the end of the issue.

This week, let’s talk about another issue heading to be Supreme Court, whether governmental meeting sold open in prayer.

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond line.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

Mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

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