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The Takeaway: Marriage Ruling Is Welcome News for Older Gay and Lesbian Couples

The following is a guest post by Kim Keister.

The ruling by a federal appeals court on May 30 that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution by limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman brings at least some gay couples a step closer to sharing federal benefits long enjoyed by heterosexuals.

The ruling, which won’t be enforced before the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, has particular importance for older gay and lesbian couples. Many of the benefits denied by DOMA are designed to protect older people from economic insecurity in the face of serious illness or the death of a spouse, as outlined in a report published in 2010 by SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), a New York-based nonprofit organization. Some examples that Peter Jaret pointed out in an article for AARP:

There are plenty more examples that may seem plain unfair – and may be nearing an end.