Implications of DOMA and the supreme court ruling on same-sex marriage for spousal benefits

Debra A. Harley, Pamela B. Teaster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The purpose of this chapter is to examine the implications of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage pertaining to spousal benefits. The focus is on same-sex marriage, not necessarily civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. Given this ruling; first, this chapter will identify issues of concern emanating from both sides of the debate on gay marriage that were presented to the Supreme Court. Second, implications after DOMA in regard to Medicaid and Medicare spousal protections; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the elderly, blind, and persons with disabilities; military and spousal benefits; immigration; and private employment issues and benefits are discussed. Implications for inheritance, power of attorney, and families of choice in hospital visitations and medical decision-making are dispersed throughout the discussion. The information presented in this chapter is intended to present information to help guide thinking and actions of service professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of LGBT Elders
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Approach to Principles, Practices, and Policies
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319036236
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • DOMA
  • Gay marriage
  • Same-sex marriage
  • The Defense of marriage act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology


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