doma

Tom Harris and Brian Mahieu

Tom Harris and Brian Mahieu have been engaged for nine years. Each wears a wedding ring. Each says they consider themselves married emotionally.

However, their opportunities to get legally married have been limited. Even though nearby Iowa has allowed same-sex marriage since 2009, Harris and Mahieu were afraid to drive north to get married.

"[We] realized pretty quick that that's nice, but when we come back to Missouri, nothing has changed," Harris said.

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

What DOMA means for Missouri

Jun 26, 2013

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA Wedensday. It’s  a provision of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples.

For the states that have legalized gay marriage (12 of them, and the District of Columbia), it’s clear what the impact of this decision will be for same-sex couples in those states.  Their spouses will now be entitled to the same federal benefits as straight couples, which was not the case in the past. But the result is murkier in the other 38 states where gay marriage is not legally protected (like in Missouri).

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act is a monumental victory for advocates of same-sex marriage.

But what happens now that the 1996 federal law that confines marriage to a man and a woman has been declared unconstitutional?

Will federal benefits flow only to same-sex married couples living in states that recognize their unions?

Claire McCaskill
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she believes gay couples should be able to marry.