Couple Happy Same-Sex Spouses Will Receive Refunds
Julie Salazar and Libby Fredenburg are newlyweds. They say they're pleased with New York state's efforts to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
"For me, it just seems surreal," Salazar said. "I feel like were finally on the same footing as heterosexual couples.
"I think some gays and lesbians take it for granted what rights that we didn't have before," she said.
The most recent victory for same-sex couples is an announcement out of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.
The state says it will give refunds to survivors of same-sex couples who had to pay an estate tax because the federal government didn't recognize their marriages.
In the past, same-sex couples weren't given the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples, but last month the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prevented married same-sex couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are available to married people.
Salazar and Fredenburg say they hope other states follow New York's example.
"I think it's definitely a great first step that has taken place in the states that allow it," Fredenburg said. "Hopefully, we're going to make more steps along the way and get these other states equal rights, as well."
"It's nice to know that New York state is a front-runner and we're a leader in showing equal rights for everyone," Fredenburg said. "Like Julie, I can only hope that other states are going to look at this."
It's a step that leaves the couple optimistic for the future of married gay couples in New York and the rest of the country.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016, Watertown, NY
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