The Freedom to Marry emerges as an Issue in Congressional Debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Equal treatment of legally married gay couples has emerged as an issue in the debate in Congress over ending the military's ban on open homosexuality in the ranks.

"Gay people serving in the military, defending our country, should have the same rules and same opportunities as any other Americans, no more and no less," Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, told The Washington Times.

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Tax Tips for Same-Sex Couples

Gay couples have complicated financial lives, and preparing tax returns is no exception. Since the federal government doesn’t honor the freedom to marry, gay couples who are living in states that do recognize their various legal unions must still file separate federal returns. That requires more record-keeping and planning than their heterosexual counterparts — and oftentimes, gay couples will have to pay more to an accountant to prepare their returns.

But the consequences aren’t all negative. By remaining unmarried, some same-sex couples will avoid the so-called marriage penalty. This occurs when a couple’s combined income pushes them into a higher tax bracket than if they had remained single. Or, they may qualify for more tax deductions or credits that phase out as their income rises.

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Partner denied FMLA sick leave by ATT
January 29, 2010

Bryan Dickenson and Bill Sugg have been together for 30 years. After Sugg suffered a debilitating stroke in September, Dickinson requested time off from his job at AT&T under the federal Family Medical Leave Act to care for his partner. But AT&T is refusing to grant Dickenson the 12 weeks of leave that would be afforded to a heterosexual spouse under the act. [Link]

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View From Washington: 2009 and Obama

The Advocate
December 30, 2009

Kerry Eleveld writes, "In assessing the year in LGBT rights, what is most striking to me is the Obama administration’s unwillingness to engage on almost anything related to relationship recognition. Time and again, the administration has had opportunities to lean into the subject, to nudge the nation a little closer to equality for same-sex couples, and it has repeatedly leaned back, seemingly hoping the subject would disappear into the ether." (Link)

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OPM Defies Order on Benefits for Same-Sex Partner

Washington Post
December 22, 2009
With logic only a lawyer -- and perhaps only a government lawyer -- could love, the Obama administration is refusing to obey a federal judge's order that agrees with a position the administration supports -- the repeal of the so-called Federal "DOMA." [link]

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Nadler: Movement to repeal DOMA focusing on building Support in Congress

December 11, 2009
Rep. Jerrold Nadler has said that sponsorship of a bill to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act will not occur in Congress next year. Instead, he said, efforts will be focused on building support on the issue. [Link]

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Benefits for Same-Sex Partners Are Gaining Ground in Courtrooms, Legislatures and at the Ballot Box

The Washington Post
November 27, 2009
Citing recent victories in N.Y., Calif., Wash. state and other areas, experts say that despite ongoing national controversy over marriage equality, LGBT people are making steady and significant progress in gaining legal protections. Jarrett Barrios, president of GLAAD, points out: "Because at the end of the day, the public sees that marriage and all the benefits associated with it are about . . . what people need to honor their commitment to their spouses and protect them." [Link]

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Why more than Marriage is at stake in the Federal legal challenge to Prop. 8

The American Prospect
November 23, 2009
Gabriel Arana discusses the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, including the fact that "it is only about marriage in the sense that Roe v. Wade was about privacy, or Brown v. Board of Education was about school choice. The case is really about the place of gay people in society." [Link]

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COLUMN: Rationale Builds for Benefits Law for Same-Sex Couples

The Washington Post
November 24, 2009
Joe Davidson discusses separate rulings last week by two federal judges that the U.S. government must extend benefits to the same-sex spouses of federal employees, writing that these decisions bolster the rationale behind two proposed federal measures that would grant such protections. [Link]

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Judge Orders Compensation for Gay Couple Who Were Denied Healthcare, Other Benefits

The Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2009
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt on Wednesday ordered compensation for a Los Angeles man denied federal employee benefits for his husband because of the federal DOMA. [Link]

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