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Posts tagged "Marriage Equality"


WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) on Tuesday introduced the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act in the U.S. House, a bill to close loopholes in the Social Security Act and guarantee that all married couples, including same-sex couples, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits that they have earned.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)AP

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)

Following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, the Department of Justice conducted a review to determine implementation of spouse and survivor benefits.

The review concluded that, despite Section 3 of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional, several provisions of the Social Security Act prohibit the federal government from paying same-sex married couples their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits if the state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The Social Security Act also requires couples to be married for nine months before they can qualify for Social Security benefits, or twelve months for a retired spouse to receive benefits.

Takano’s bill would close these loopholes by:

  • Repealing discriminatory provisions and allow the Social Security Administration to award benefits to any marriage that is valid.
  • Allowing same-sex married couples whose marriage was prohibited by state law to use a combination of marriage time and time in domestic partnership to qualify for benefits.
  • Requiring the Social Security Administration to conduct a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage same-sex couples to apply for the benefits they may be owed.

“One year has passed since the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Takano, one of only eight openly LGBT members of the U.S. Congress. “However, the Department of Justice’s interpretation of existing law means that some same-sex couples who live in discriminatory states could be denied Social Security or Medicare benefits.”

“The Social Security and Medicare Parity Act of 2014 closes that loophole and guarantees that all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits they have earned,” he said.

UPDATE: Here’s the Tumblr for Rep. Mark Takano, who follows me on Tumblr: repmarktakano


On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore, an Obama appointee, issued a ruling declaring that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Moore stayed the decision, but only temporarily until Monday.

State Attorney General John Suthers (R), who has been defending Colorado’s ban, made a strange tactical decision in this particular case. Though he argued that he believes the ban is constitutional, he still asked Moore to overturn it and then stay that decision. This, Suthers seemed to hope, would force Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

Since last month, when the 10th Circuit agreed with a lower court that Utah’s same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Hall has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She has argued that the 10th Circuit’s stay in the Utah case only applies to Utah, but its ruling against marriage bans applies to the whole Circuit, which includes Colorado. Suthers has asked state courts to force Hall to stop, but his requests have been denied, including again Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Boulder County Clerk’s office reports that it has issued a total of 181 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore’s decision follows a ruling by a Colorado state judge earlier this month similarly overturning the state’s law. The two cases will proceed in their separate jurisdictions.

Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress


Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show, a local radio show in Georgia “that is centered around defending liberty.”

Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia's 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show , a local radio show in Georgia "that is centered around defending liberty."

Hice previously ran for Congress in 2010, losing to current Rep. Rob Woodall in a runoff. He is likely to make a runoff again in a crowded field to replace Broun. Jody Hice Facebook

On one episode of Hice’s radio show, the topic of marriage equality came up. Hice had a few thoughts.

Hice says marriage equality will have an “enormous, erosive effect on marriage and family.”

He says “homosexuals have the right to be married” just not “to one another.”

And that children need two parents of different genders to grow up in the most “healthy, psychological, emotional, spiritual, physical” environment.

Hice calls it “totally unreasonable” to compare marriage equality with the Civil Rights struggle because “you cannot change your race” but “thousands and thousands of people” have chosen not to be gay.

He adds that “our Constitution does not protect sexual preference,” and compares the lack of a parent of one gender in same-sex couple with children to “losing mom or dad in a car accident.”

Source: Andrew Kaczynski for Buzzfeed

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

H/T: Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post


A federal appeals court has ruled for the second time that states cannot prevent same-sex couples from getting married.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday has found a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma violates the U.S. Constitution. In a Utah case, the court ruled June 25 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.

Lower courts struck down Utah and Oklahoma’s voter-approved bans in December and January, respectively.

The rulings are the first at the appellate level since the U.S. Supreme Court changed the legal landscape by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013. They are likely to be appealed to the high court.

Gay marriage in both states is on hold until appeals are resolved.

Developing story. This report will be updated.

Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality gets struck down. 

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Unlike other pro-marriage equality rulings in other states, this particular ruling appears to be for only the Florida Keys region instead of statewide. 

NOTE: On the term “Profiles in Cowardice” in the headline, it refers to the Vikings’ actions related to the independent review on Chris Kluwe. 

h/t: Travis Waldron at Think Progress Sports

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade

In contrast to Jim Wallis, I am a full supporter of LGBTQ rights.

h/t: John M. Becker at The Blierico Project


SALT LAKE CITY — A federal appeals court has denied Utah’s request for an indefinite stay pending appeal of a ruling ordering the state to recognize more than 1,000 gay marriages that took place in the state after a same-sex marriage ban was overturned.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order late Friday afternoon. The court will keep the stay in place until July 21 to give Utah time to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to leave the stay in place.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office didn’t immediately have comment. It’s unclear if the state will ask the high court for relief.

If the state doesn’t go to the Supreme Court, couples can begin moving forward with issues such as child custody, medical decisions and inheritance on July 21.

h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM


Judge C. Scott Crabtree has just ruled Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban, approved by voters in 2006, is unconstitutional. Judge Crabtree immediately stayed his ruling, as many other judges have done, so no marriages will be performed for now.

The ruling was expected, given the more than one dozen favorable rulings from state and federal judges since the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA a year ago in June. Crabtree is the 16th judge to rule a marriage ban unconstitutional over the past 12 months.

In June of this year, when the state of Colorado argued its case, Crabtree scoffed at the state’s arguments, and, pointing to the plethora of other rulings in favor of marriage equality,asked"They all got it wrong? What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?"