The Supreme Court victory in United States v. Windsor striking down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) affirms that all loving and committed couples who are married deserve equal legal respect and treatment from the federal government. The demise of DOMA marks a turning point in how the United States government treats the relationships of married same-sex couples for federal programs that are linked to being married.
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Most employees in the United States see a “FICA” deduction — reducing their take-home pay — on every paycheck. FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contribution Act. Those deductions are what employees pay into the federal Social Security system to fund benefits not only for retirement, but also for when a spouse dies or becomes disabled. The principal goal of these benefits is to provide a safety net, similar to life insurance.
1. Marriage Helps Couples Keep Their Commitments
Marriage provides protections for couples who have made a lifelong commitment to take care of and be responsible for each other. Keeping those commitments is harder when couples are barred from marriage, especially in tough times, because they may be denied the right to: