Health care: U.S. firms that offer domestic-partner benefits programs historically provide only health benefits to the partner of the employee, but the employee was required to pay income tax on the estimated value of that employee's health care package. With the new ruling, the employee doesn't have to pay that tax. "Also, expect an expansion of Medicare coverage and smaller premiums for some couples," Garland says.

Care-giving benefits: Before the dismantling of DOMA, any worker who wanted time off from work to care for a sick or injured same-sex spouse was out of luck. By law, that privilege was reserved only for married couples. "But with the ruling, same-sex married couples are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, allowing eligible workers to take up to 12 months of unpaid leave to care for a spouse or child with a serious medical condition," Garland says.

Written by Brian O'Connell for MainStreet

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