Linda Sánchez Fights to End LGBT Discrimination (August, 5 2013)
Washington, DC –Today, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38) announced the introduction of the Social Security Equality Act of 2013 (H.R. 3050) which would put an end to a Social Security Administration policy that denies benefits to same-sex couples.
“It is time for our government to stop telling gay and lesbian couples that they are second class citizens,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “Same-sex couples pay into Social Security over the course of their working lives just like other Americans. They should receive the full benefits they have earned. My bill will make sure every American receives a benefit based upon their contribution to Social Security, not their sexual orientation.”
The Social Security Equality Act of 2013 would require the Social Security Administration to provide spousal, survivor and death benefits to same sex couples in relationships that have been recognized by the state where they live. Currently, twelve states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages. Six other states recognize civil unions.
“Despite the recent Supreme Court decisions that struck down DOMA and reaffirmed marriage equality in California, millions of LGBT Americans still live in states where they do not have equal access to federal benefits,” said Lorri L. Jean, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO. “The Social Security Equality Act will help many older LGBT Americans live their lives with the dignity and respect that all older citizens of our country deserve.”
In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. It is believed that this ruling would require the Social Security Administration to provide full benefits to married, same-sex couples. However, for a same-sex couple who bound by a civil union or domestic partnership and not technically “married,” that couple could be barred from receiving the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. H.R. 3050 would provide couples in those states with equal access to the benefits they deserve.
H.R. 3050 was introduced with 109 original co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on which Congresswoman Sánchez serves.
Congresswoman Sánchez introduced the Social Security Equality Act in the previous two sessions of Congress. H.R. 3050 has garnered support from the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, The Task Force, AIDS Community Action Foundation, SAGE, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.