IRS and Medicare Will Recognize All Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) has ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions
that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax
purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a
jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not
recognize same-sex marriage. A press release by the Treasury Department says
that the Department and the IRS will use a “place of celebration” rule in
recognizing same-sex unions (recognition that was illegal before the Supreme
Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act last month). That means
that the U.S. government recognizes a marriage if the union was legally
recognized in the place where it occurred, where it was celebrated. That’s true
even if the married couple then lives in a state where gay marriage is illegal.
There was some concern among gay rights groups after the high court’s ruling
that the federal government would instead adhere to a “place of residence” rule
in recognizing same-sex unions, which would make it much harder for couples
living in states that ban such unions to gain legal recognition. Indeed, the
IRS usually complies with a place of residence rule but went against precedent
in this case.

Likewise, the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that
legally wedded same-sex couples, wherever they live, are eligible for certain
Medicare benefits reserved for married couples. In its memo, HHS “specifically
clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to couples who are in
a legally recognized same-sex marriage, regardless of where they live.”
 “Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal
access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of
their sexual orientation,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator
Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.

But not all agencies are following suit. Social Security uses a
place of residence rule, and has issued instructions to personnel to deny
claims for spousal benefits from same-sex couples living in states where such
marriages are not recognized. But the overall trend is toward a federal
government that offers benefits to as expansive a set of same-sex married
couples as possible.

Source/more: Washington Post

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