HOUSTON – Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling to strike down the nation’s defense of marriage gives gay couples in Texas and elsewhere a reason to marry.
Texas is one of the majority of states where gay marriage is outlawed.
The court’s decision didn’t change that. However, Texans who marry in one of the states where same-sex marriage is recognized can now reap federal benefits.
“We do receive the majority of those federal benefits and rights and protections now. Things like social security and insurance benefits,” said Mark Eggleston of Cypress.
Mark Eggleston and Darrin Brindle wed in California on the first day that gay marriage was legal there.
Their marriage was negated by Prop. 8, but now it’s legal again in California and on a federal level.
There is some confusion when it comes to joint programs between federal and state governments, like Medicaid. Legal experts expect more battles ahead in court.
The laws are also complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or have moved from a gay marriage state since tying the knot.
Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking.
For example, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.
“There was no federal reason for us to do that. There was no reason in Texas for us to get married in another state,” said Scott Moore of Houston.
Now, there is a federal reason for Scott Moore and Joey Guerra, who have been together for 18 years.
The couple adopted a baby boy about two years ago and wants more than anything to be considered equal by law.
“When you involve a baby, all these things are real life. These are things we are going to have to deal with every day,” said Joey Guerra.
Guerra and Moore are now contemplating the possibility of getting married out of state.