Couples watch to see how gay marriage rulings will affect them - WSMV Channel 4

TN couples watch to see how rulings on gay marriage will affect them

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David Lyle, right, says he wants to hear more about how the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will impact his family. David Lyle, right, says he wants to hear more about how the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will impact his family.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Supreme Court gave the nation's legally married gay couples equal federal footing with all other married Americans on Wednesday and also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Gay couples who were married elsewhere but now live in Tennessee have been watching the Supreme Court decisions closely.

They want to know how and when they will see the impact on their income taxes and other federal benefits because the rulings do nothing to change the fact that Tennessee bans gay marriage.

Still, David Lyle, of Nashville, said the rulings were a victory for him and his husband of seven years. He said he first heard the news while driving their twin daughters to daycare.

"I immediately got a call from my husband," Lyles said. "He was just as excited as I was. We're thrilled."

Lyle said he wants to hear more about how the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will impact him, since he lives in a state that has a constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage.

He and his husband paid about $2,500 more in income tax because they had to file separately instead of jointly as a married couple.

That's guidance that many gay rights supporters in Tennessee are hoping the Obama administration will give states soon.

"For those couples living in Tennessee, it will be more complicated than those couples living in New York or Massachusetts or Illinois," said Hedy Weinberg, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Tennessee passed its constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2006, and supporters of that amendment say they are relieved the Supreme Court's ruling didn't affect that.

"The court has left intact the ability of the states to continue to debate and define what they believe marriage to be, and, in that sense, at least for Tennessee, that is a victory," said David Fowler, with the Family Action Council of Tennessee.

But many gay rights groups believe the Supreme Court's action is a huge step and believe, eventually, Tennessee will change its mind on gay marriage.

"We think there is language in the DOMA ruling, and we think with momentum, eventually, maybe fairly soon, the Tennessee Marriage Discrimination Amendment will go into the dustbin of history," said Chris Sanders, with the Tennessee Equality Project.

The Tennessee Equality Project believes federal employees and military members who live in Tennessee will see the first impact, and the Obama administration may then provide some clarification on how other federal benefits will apply.

The ACLU has compiled a fact sheet on the many ways the DOMA ruling affects married same-sex couples: https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/after-doma-what-it-means-you.

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