Supreme Court's DOMA ruling marks a historic day for gay couples in Washington

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:


The Supreme Court's historic decision to overturn a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act sent gay Seattleites into frenzy Wednesday.

A large rally of about 1,000 people developed in front of the federal  courthouse just after  5 o'clock. Among those there were Otts Bolisay and Ken Thompson, who have been together for 13 years.

"It's very strange to have nine strangers in black robes decide what your future would be, but that's what happened today," Thompson said.

The court's ruling set aside federal language that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. This opens up federal health care benefits, tax benefits and military benefits to thousands of Washington's gay couples, married since the state legalized same-sex marriage in late 2012.

Thompson and Bolisay held off on getting married because Bolisay's visa will expire next year. He would have to go back to the Bahamas.

The Supreme Court's ruling now solves the couple's immigration problem by extending new marriage-related immigration rights to same-sex married couples as well.

"Everything feels open right now, and before everything felt closed," Bolisay said.

But Seattle University family law professor Deirdre Bowen said if married gay couples move to a same-sex marriage state, the court striking down DOMA may not do them any good.

"Because in Oregon (a state that does not allow gay marriage), under their definition of same sex marriage, they're not married," Bowen said.

Meanwhile, accountants like Dave Liatos had one immediate thought: "A lot of people's returns are going to get a lot easier to prepare."

He said the ability for couples to file jointly will help them sidestep what was a complicated tax filing process. 

However, Liatos said some gay couples may not actually save money along with saved frustration.

"Two people who have two similar amounts of income often  may pay a little bit more or lose some deductions," Liatos said.