June 26 marked a monumental victory in the history of gay rights and same-sex marriage. On this day, when the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, the door was opened for more rights and protections. Reuters reports on August 29 that federal tax benefits have been extended to married gay couples. More importantly they will have the same tax filing rights even if they live in states where gay marriage is not legal.
The announcement came on Thursday from the Obama administration that all legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for U.S. federal tax purposes and couples will be able to file jointly and claim the same tax benefits as heterosexual couples.
According to the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service the ruling will apply "regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage."
This is huge because it will allow a same-sex couple to move freely to another state and not have it affect the couples tax-filing status. It also assures equal access to benefits as clarified by Treasure Secretary Jack Lew:
"Today's ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve."
It was another victory for gay marriage in the U.S. There are now 13 states along with the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. With the June 26 rulings, that number is expected to climb but in the meantime, the estimated 130,000 same-sex married couples in the United States, will now be recognized equally when it comes to federal benefits and tax protections.