Will Wisconsin’s same-sex couples benefit from SCOTUS rulings?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 26th handed down two rulings relating to same-sex marriage, and now, U.S. Attorney James Santelle will play a role in determining how the rulings will affect same-sex couples in Wisconsin.

There are currently 13 states that allow gay marriage -- and the state of Wisconsin is not one of them.

In landmark rulings on Wednesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional — extending federal benefits to same-sex spouses.

In a separate case, the court declined to decide the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage in California, effectively allowing gay marriage in that state.

Because Wisconsin is a state in which same-sex marriage is not allowed, same-sex couples who live in Wisconsin are not eligible for federal benefits. Only same-sex couples from those states that allow same-sex marriage will be eligible to receive the benefits.

Santelle said Wednesday was a very important day -- not just for the LGBT community, but for all Americans.

"In Wisconsin, we of course have a constitutional amendment passed a number of years ago that does define marriage as between a man and a woman," Santelle said.

Santelle says because Wisconsin does not recognize same-sex marriage, there are no immediate changes to federal tax benefits for Wisconsin's gay couples.

However, it is unclear whether some benefits will flow to same-sex couples who marry out of state but live in Wisconsin -- one of the many issues Santelle predicts will be the subject of litigation in the coming weeks and months.

"There will be lawsuits. There will be claims filed, all attempting to identify exactly what is the dimension of this," Santelle said.

Gov. Scott Walker also weighed in Wednesday, saying he does not expect the rulings to have an impact in Wisconsin.

"Our legal counsel told us it doesn`t affect Wisconsin`s constitutional amendment, so in terms of the federal law, I don`t really have a comment.  It just doesn`t have an impact on Wisconsin," Gov. Walker said.

Wisconsin Family Action, an organization that makes it it's mission to: "focus on issues that impact Wisconsin’s traditional families" issued a statement saying: "We disagree with this opinion," promising they would continue to aggressively promote, strengthen and preserve marriage between one man and one woman.