July 01, 2013

LGBT Retirement Planning after DOMA

Joan M. Burda

When the first draft of this article was written, the situation was straight-forward: The federal government, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), did not recognize same-sex marriages, even if the couple’s state of residency did. The situation has now changed dramatically because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. United States.

On June 26, 2013, ten years after issuing the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decided Windsor v. United States and declared key portions of DOMA to be unconstitutional.

The decision was expected by many but still was a significant event. Married lesbian and gay couples living in one of the 14 jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage will now be entitled to recognition by the federal government. These couples will be treated just like every other married couple for state and federal purposes. The implications for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors are enormous.

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