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You're a Gay Couple. Now What Do You Do?

Gay rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. Photograph by0xA0Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images
Gay rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. Photograph by0xA0Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

For same-sex couples, the Supreme Court's gay marriage decisions have an immediate dollars-and-cents impact.

In two rulings yesterday, the court cleared the way for gay marriage in California and struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that denied benefits to married same-sex couples. For DOMA plaintiff Edith Windsor, the ruling means she’ll get back the $363,000 plus interest that the U.S. took in estate taxes when her wife died. For other same-sex couples, her victory means access to the 1,100-plus federal marriage benefits previously denied them, from Social Security and health insurance to federal pensions and the right to sponsor spouses for immigration. Many married gay couples will be able to file federal taxes together for the first time, bringing tax cuts for some and increases for others.