CARSON CITY -- As the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, it gave Allison Tunaley hope her home could be saved. Tunaley and her wife were married in California right before proposition eight was passed by voters. "We didn't want to take the chance on not being married," Tunaley said. After her wife passed away from an illness, Tunaley moved to Nevada to stay with relatives and the couple's California dream home went into foreclosure.
"That's what the house is, is one beautiful big memory," Tunaley said.
However, after the nation's highest court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, she said odds the lender might agree to refinance are better. Tunaley will also now be able to collect her wife's social security benefits.
"With a little added finances maybe I get to keep the house the home that we had for a long time," she said
The decision also means same-sex couples who are married will be able to amend previous tax returns, if they desire. Same-sex married couples gain death benefits, gain the ability to file joint tax returns and avoid paying the gift tax under the ruling. Some estimate same-sex married couples are now eligible for more than one thousand benefits that were previously denied.
"To have the Supreme Court once again say: 'you guys are equal to anyone else your marriage is equal to anyone else,' that was huge," Tunaley said.
In another decision, the United States Supreme Court avoided deciding whether bans on same-sex couples getting married are constitutional. The court determined it had no standing, which means the lower court's ruling that proposition eight is unconstitutional stands. Same-sex marriages will again be allowed to take place in California. Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage remains in place. However, the Nevada State Legislature passed a resolution aimed at creating marriage equality. If approved by the 2015 legislature, then the voters, same-sex couple could marry in Nevada.