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