A bill introduced by Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall seeks to provide married gay couples living in states that do not recognize their marriages with Social Security spousal benefits.

Pursuant to last year's Supreme Court decision striking the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married gay couples are eligible to receive all federal benefits provided they live in a state which recognizes their marriage. Currently, Washington D.C. and 17 states recognize such unions.

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, the U.S. Senate's first and only openly gay member, is a co-sponsor of the SAME Act.

“The SAME Act, at least for Social Security benefits, would bring justice and equality to married couples who right now cannot qualify for death benefits, for example, because the federal government won't recognize their marriage,” Baldwin, a Democrat, told Wisconsin Public Radio.

Baldwin noted that Republican support was needed for the bill to clear the Senate.

“Sen. [Rob] Portman of Ohio, when his son came out to him, said, 'I want my son to be treated equally,'” she said. “I hope we're getting there and maybe this bill will help.”