Same-sex couples in Washington state rushed giddily to the courthouse earlier this month after Washington became one of three states where voters approved laws giving them the legal right to marry. …

The gap between state laws that recognize same-sex marriage, and federal laws that don’t, makes tax season complicated at best, and costly at worst, for same-sex spouses. …

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear cases related to same-sex marriage could clarify the confusion if the court ends up striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, a national law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. …

The recognition would mean that same-sex couples could file a joint tax return and be eligible for tax breaks and other government benefits, such as spousal Social Security benefits, that heterosexual spouses currently have.