Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, July 22, 2013

Questions Unanswered After DOMA Cases

FlagAs I have previously discussed, the Supreme Court found the Defense Against Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, thus allowing married same-sex couples in states allowing gay marriage to receive hundreds of benefits available to married couples under federal law. However, the two seminal cases Windsor v. U.S., and Hollingsworth v. Perry, have left some questions unanswered. Attorney Frank Berall, from BNA Tax and Accounting Center poses a few questions that these cases present below:

  1. Whether the U.S. Code's definition of marriage, is the only one defining "marriage?"
  2. Could the federal government adopt a policy that a marriage valid in any state will be recognized for federal law purposes, whether or not that marriage is recognized by the domiciliary state? This seems within the power of the President and appears consistent with the administration's views.
  3. Could someone (such as an Arab) with more than one wife obtain a marital deduction for bequests to his two or three wives? 
  4. Could someone marry several people, as permitted in some Arab and other countries with the United States required to recognize their marriages?

See Frank S. Berall, Questions Remaining About Doma After the Windsor and Perry CaseesBloomberg, Jul. 18, 2013. 


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