One of the interesting questions coming out of the Supreme Court's decision today in United States v. Windsor is whether states allowing gay marriage will reap an economic benefit for their local economies. That is, how much additional Federal money will flow to those states as a result of having more married people?
This issue is similar to the question of how state decisions to adopt Obamacare Medicaid expansion will affect state economies. A state that extends Medicaid will get 100% Federal coverage of that expansion initially, with 90% Federal subsidy after several years. As anyone with a 401(k) knows, you say yes to the 100% employer contribution and you stand on your head to find a way to accept the 90% employer contribution that requires a 10% match. For a huge state like Florida or Pennsylvania, loss of the Federal match will amount to billions of dollars in lost investment in the state's medical industry.
My question is whether a state's decision to prohibit gay marriage will mean revenue loss to the state. The most obvious site for this would be lost Social Security dollars if, for example, a surviving spouse would have received additional money. I don't know if states banning gay marriage might miss out on Federal money in other ways as well.
I'm guessing the decision will have an impact on the tax revenue side as well - the marriage tax and all that.
My colleague Norman Stein indicates that this decision will have significant impact on ERISA-related pension and benefit issues...everything from death benefits to tax protection ERISA-covered health care plans. And it's hardly just a prospective matter: the issue of retroactivity of the decision may end up being a huge, financially consequential battle. What about a person who died last month while legally married to their same-sex spouse? Does that spouse benefit from Windsor?
For activists, Windsor may be a civil rights decision. For lawyers in the trenches, however, it's also a trove of important legal issues just waiting to be litigated.