Although 37 states still oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act grants thousands of gay couples access to federal benefits. "People who are married will be treated as married for the 1,100 federal rights and benefits that apply to all married couples," says attorney Hunter Carter. "The most important are Social Security, taxes, federal pensions, federal worker benefits for federal employees and, of course, immigration."

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