Friday, July 11, 2008

Federal Government Finds Benefits for Gay Couples

I am very late reporting this. The following came from The Washington Post's Justice for Gays:

"How could the OLC, which gained notoriety for putting ideology before the rule of law to justify extreme interrogation techniques, come to such a conclusion? By reading the law governing Social Security benefits neutrally and correctly -- and by keeping politics out of the analysis. In short, it relied on a straightforward -- some might say 'conservative' -- approach to produce a result that even 'liberals' should applaud. To his credit, OLC acting chief Steven G. Bradbury, who has been criticized for his work on Justice Department interrogation matters, approved the Social Security memo.

The two women in the case, identified in the OLC opinion only as Monique and Karen, entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2002, and Monique gave birth to a son, Elijah, in 2003. Because of the civil union, Karen was identified on the birth certificate as 'second parent.' When Karen became eligible for disability benefits in 2005, she asked that Elijah receive 'child's insurance benefits' under Social Security to supplement their lost income. The Social Security Administration asked the OLC for guidance on whether the Defense of Marriage Act prohibited such benefits.

The OLC's deputy, Steven A. Engel, wrote in the opinion that the Defense of Marriage Act has no bearing on Social Security benefits"

A good example of interpreting a statute but without a civil union statute in Indiana does nothing for Hoosiers.

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