Speaking Sunday in Hollywood, California Representative Linda Sanchez pledged she will author legislation that would secure Social Security benefits for gay and lesbian couples.

Sanchez was among the state and local officials who joined hundreds of demonstrators outside the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center to kick off Rock for Equality, a grass-roots campaign to win Social Security survivor benefits for gay couples.

Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the Center, spoke to the crowd first.

“We are here today to demand an end to bigoted government policies that force LGBT seniors out of house and home, or to chose between food and medicine because they are denied the survivor benefits that straight people take for granted,” she said.

Sanchez, who is a member of the House Subcommittee on Social Security, told the cheering crowd that she would sponsor legislation to fix the inequality.

“We now have quality, affordable health care coming to all,” Sanchez said. “What good is the quality of our health care in America if Americans are not treated equally under all of our laws? I look at this country – which is great but could be made better – and I see there is still discrimination.”

“I don't think it's right that Americans should be treated differently by the country they love because of who they love,” she added.

Representative Judy Chu, whose district includes East Los Angeles, offered to co-author Sanchez's bill.

California Senator Barbara Boxer also lent her support. “We will win it,” she told the crowd. “It's just a matter of time.”

After the rally, demonstrators marched down Hollywood Boulevard to the Social Security office on Vine Street where they waved signs that read “Outlaw Social Security Discrimination.”

According to the Center, the inequity is estimated to have cost the gay and lesbian community more than $2 billion in the last decade alone.