Michigan has been slow to embrace same sex couples and recognition of their rights and their life as whole people or whole families. (For instance, this state has been loathe to allow BOTH parents in same sex unions to adopt children jointly–leaving a child in possible limbo should one of the parents dies.) And just this week, many of our state senators and representatives are pushing legislation that would hamstring or eliminate local ordinances that differ from state law or regulation–this could affect things like local minimum wage rules, but also anti-discrimination ordinances which several cities have adopted.
And it was only a few weeks ago that Michigan taxpayers all footed the bill of outside counsel hired by the Attorney General of the state, to argue against recognition of gay marriage, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule in June of this year whether or not individual state laws or constitutional provisions akin to DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) are valid or not.  There is another question those before the Court were asked to consider.  It is this:  Even if state A may restrict same sex marriage licenses or weddings in their state, must state A at least recognize such marriages from state B if state B allows such marriages?
While we await some guidance and determination from the U.S. Supreme Court on the DeBoer v Snyder and affiliated cases, there are still things lgbt couples might want to look at, in regards to some of their rights, some benefit availability, and the approaches various Federal departments are taking.
In that regard, the news is fairly good for married same sex couples and one might take hope, despite what may happen at an individual state level.
In 2013, the Supreme Court threw out section 3 of DOMA, and by the summer of 2013, most every federal agency was tasked with determining how the Court ruling would affect their work going forward.  Would spouse be defined broadly to extend to same sex couples?  Could a legally married same sex couple avail themselves of spousal benefits or survivor benefits under Social Security?  Questions abound.
Below is a short (and certainly incomplete) list of websites and links to various Federal agencies, so you can explore for yourself just what your rights might be.  And as always, if you have questions or concerns or think some sort of advocacy might be in order, feel free to contact us at Bradley Vauter & Associates, P.C.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Social Security Administration
Veterans’ Administration
Also, check out our resources page — where we list resources by categories and post a number of useful links that will take you from our pages to the websites of other helpful organizations.