Back in 2011, when New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, we discussed the issues particularly as they related to the Federal law, Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). For Federal purposes, DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman and allowed states which do not allow same sex marriage to not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court decided that much of DOMA is unconstitutional, since same sex married couples were not being treated equally under the law. Specifically, Section 3 of DOMA, which allowed the Federal government to deny benefits to same sex couples, was invalidated. However, Section 2, which allows states to decide who may marry and which marriages to recognize, is still law.
This means that same sex couples married in New York and living in New York can expect the same rights as heterosexual married couples. However, some issues remain murky, particularly for those same sex couples married in one state and now living in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage. Benefit eligibility is often governed by the state in which a couple lives as opposed to the state in which the couple was married.