Still a Long Way to Go
Married same-sex couples receive many federal benefits, but other protections are still unavailable, according to new report.
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On June 20, 2014 the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report recounting extensive recognition of same-sex spouses for purposes of federal benefits. But in the 31 states that deny the recognition of same-sex marriages, some of the most critical benefits offered by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs remain out of reach for couples.
Lambda Legal, the national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people through impact litigation, education and public policy work, has issued the following statement by Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation:
“We very much appreciate all that the Department of Justice and this Administration have done to implement the Windsor decision and be true to the U.S. Supreme Court’s condemnation of discrimination against married same-sex families. Our nation has come far this last year. But because the implementation falls short of reaching all married same-sex couples no matter where they live, continuing hardships will need resolution as quickly as possible.
“Older LGBT people—those who have already borne the brunt of decades of antigay discrimination in this country—will suffer the most if they cannot access critical benefits for veterans, the aging and their spouses.”
"Older LGBT people—those who have already borne the brunt of decades of antigay discrimination in this country—will suffer the most if they cannot access critical benefits for veterans, the aging and their spouses. Sadly, many of the most vulnerable members of our community continue to carry the burden of discrimination against LGBT families. We will continue to work to make sure that married same-sex couples are respected no matter where they live.”
Since the Supreme Court ruling last June striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), there has been progress in the area of federal taxes, immigration and benefits for married federal employees. But married same-sex couples in all states still need critical social security and veterans benefits. While each of the 31 states that ban marriage equality has some form of legal action against the bans, some couples and families are in urgent need of progress. Sommer and Lambda Legal encourage those couples with questions about discrimination to contact Lambda Legal’s Help Desk at 1-866-542-8336 or visit www.lambdalegal.org/help.
Read the full DOJ report here. http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/9722014620103930904785.pdf