June 26, 2015
Janis Cowhey, Co-Leader of the Modern Family & LGBT Services Group, Quoted in Bloomberg Article, "Marriage Ruling Ends Personal-Finance Confusion for Gay Couples."
By Margaret Collins
The Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriage nationwide will remove tax and personal-finance headaches that have bedeviled gay couples.
The 5-4 decision by the court is a particularly significant victory for many residents of the 14 states where same-sex marriages were banned until Friday, often under state constitutional amendments.
Gay couples who are married will now be able to file joint state tax returns, inherit property easily and enjoy hospital-visitation rights just like opposite-sex couples can. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited these and other practical benefits of marriage as a reason to require states to recognize same-sex marriages.
The ruling also may simplify traveling across state borders for those who are already married, said Janis Cowhey, a partner at Marcum LLP in New York and co-leader of the firm's Modern Family & LGBT Services Practice Group.
Cowhey has told clients who are married in New York, for example, to keep their marriage license and other documents such as a health-care proxy and living will on a flash drive -- in case they are traveling in a state where their marriage isn't recognized. If there's a car accident, they then would have the documentation needed to see their spouse in a hospital or help make medical decisions, she said.