The United States General Accounting Office determined that there are 1,049 federal laws classified in the United States Code in which marital status is a factor. One of the many areas included in these laws in Immigration. But not only. Other Federal rights and privileges of Marriage include Social Security benefits, housing, food stamps, veterans benefits, taxation, civilian benefits, military benefits, employment benefits, financial disclosure and conflict of interest, family rights, loans, guarantees and payments, and a whole bunch of other issues that most of us never encounter in our daily lives Yet DOMA is denying the right of valid, legally married households (like ours), to participate as full-fledged citizens of the United States.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 646,464 same-sex couples who self-identified as such, and 131,729 of them had valid legal marriages. This means there are more than 500,000 unmarried same-sex partner households in the United States that could benefit from the federal recognition of same-sex marriage that would come with overturning DOMA. Those numbers don't even include couples like us. Bi-National Same Sex couples legally married and living outside the United States in "DOMA Exile". Where in order to simply be with the person I am married to, I had to move to a different country.
So what could the court do? Well they could (in theory) kill Prop 8 and save DOMA, if that happens then same sex marriage will be legal (again) in the State of California but still un-recognized under US Federal Law. Which for couples like us, would mean pretty much nothing.
But if the Court upholds the lower court rulings that say DOMA is unconstitutional then the Prop 8 question is moot, and all marriage discrimination laws at the state level get tossed out with DOMA. Which means Eric and I get to head down the US Embassy and petition for his "green card", which would give us the option to live back in the United States. An option we do not presently have.
But more than all of that, a ruling by the United States Supreme Court will finally settle the question of whether or not the United States will finally join the majority of the civilized world in truly live up the words in the US Constitution and treat all Americans, Gay or Straight equally under the law.