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Content about 104th United States Congress

August 20, 2014

The American Military Partner Association is suing the federal Veterans Affairs Department for continuing to deny some spousal benefits to same-sex couples who live in states where they can’t legally marry

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being taken to court over it continuing to deny some spousal benefits to military same-sex couples who live in states where same-sex marriage is banned despite the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) is bringing the action through its legal counsels Lambda Legal and Morrison and Foerster LLP who filed a law suit against the VA on Monday in the Federal Circuit Court.

July 2, 2014

The Texas state Democratic Party has slammed Texas state Republicans for endorsing so-called reparative therapies that aim to turn people from gay to straight at the party’s state convention

Delegates to the Texas Democratic Party’s convention in Dallas on Saturday slammed their Republican rivals for approving a platform which includes support for attempts to turn gay people straight.

The Texas Democrats have instead put denying public funds to programs that attempt to alter a person’s sexuality in their platform and also want the Texas Department of State Health Services to investigate people who try to provide such services.

June 26, 2014

'I was honored and grateful to be among the voices urging that it be overturned'

Former US President Bill Clinton's signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996 was seen as a major betrayal to an LGBT community that had supported his being elected.

Seventeen years later, key provisions of DOMA were gutted by the US Supreme Court which made it possible for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages.

Clinton by then had changed his views.

June 6, 2014

'I think of all the serious Catholic mothers who felt freed when he said that -- free to love their kids'

Pope Francis 'thrilled' DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor when he said last year of gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

Those five words came a month after Windsor achieved a historic Supreme Court victory with the gutting of key provisions of DOMA.

She believes they will make a world of difference.

'His bully pulpit has a great deal of meaning,' Windsor said this week in an interview with HuffPost Live.

February 12, 2014

Suit claims couples are instructed by state to lie on their federal tax returns by stating they are single

Four couples filed a federal lawsuit today challenging Lousiana's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The suit was filed on the same day as a federal judge in Kentucky struck down a similar ban in that state which co-plaintiff Forum for Equality Louisiana looks at as a major plus.

January 5, 2014

Following the US Supreme Court’s decision which struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, gay Filipinos with American partners can now apply for a fiancé visa to marry in the US

Maria Cecilia Limson Gahuman, who is the first Filipino woman to receive a same-sex fiancé visa from the United States Embassy in Manila, married Carla Antonio – her American partner of 10 years – in a ceremony held at the Freedom Hall in Santa Clara, California last December 30.

December 11, 2013

'I am just one person who was part of the extraordinary and on-going fight for marriage equality'

Edie Windsor says she is 'honored' to have finished in third place for TIME Magazine Person of the Year.

The woman whose challenge to the US government’s ban on recognition of same-sex marriages gutted the Defense of Marriage Act finished behind Pope Francis and Edward Snowden.

TIME describes Windsor as 'an unlikely activist.'

December 5, 2013

Ruling by Judge Robert J Shelby will be first on a state ban since the Supreme Court struck down part of Defense of Marriage Act

Will Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, passed by voters in 2004, be struck down by a federal judge?

It could happen.

US District Judge Robert J. Shelby heard arguments on Wednesday (4 December) from both sides of a case challenging the ban.

His ruling, expected in early 2014, will be the first on a state marriage ban since the US Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June.

November 15, 2013

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has allowed out of state married gay couples to file joint tax returns and says he wants his state to end its ban on same-sex couples being able to marry

Missouri state Governor Jay Nixon has signed an executive order allowing same-sex couples who have married in other states to file joint tax returns despite his state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determined that same-sex couples who have married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal can file joint federal tax returns regardless of where they live following the US Supreme Court striking down part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

September 30, 2013

Georgia’s Department of Driver Services is refusing to change Danielle McCollum-Tucker’s drivers license to reflect her post-marriage name change due to the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

The US state of Georgia is refusing to allow an out-of-state married lesbian to change her name on her drivers license despite allowing her wife to do the same.

Employees at a Georgia Department of Driver Services office didn’t deny wife Shakira McCollum-Tucker’s application to hyphenate her name when she sought to replace an expiring license.

September 27, 2013

In her decision Judge Mary Jacobson writes 'the current inequality visited upon same-sex civil union couples offends the New Jersey Constitution...'

A New Jersey judge has ruled that the state must permit same-sex marriages.

According to an Associated Press report, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson's decision noted that because the federal government recognizes gay marriages, the US Northeastern state violates its own constitution by not doing the same.

September 27, 2013

All were married in Montgomery County before local judge halted the issuing of licenses to same-sex couples

The legal battle against Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage has ratcheted up a notch as 21 couples this week (25 September) have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state law.

The couples claim in their suit against the state that the marriage ban is unconstitutional. Their legal challenge comes two months after a federal challenge was filed against the law by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

September 5, 2013

US Attorney General Eric Holder says the regulation blocking veteran spousal benefits to same sex-couples mirrors the Defense of Marriage Act language that was found unconstitutional

According to a new ruling by US Attorney General Eric Holder, veteran benefits will be extended to same-sex married couples.

The attorney general sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner explaining the administration's decision not to enforce what is known as Title 38 of the US Code.

According to Holder, Title 38 covers 'eligibility for benefits provided to veterans and their families, and in some instances active-duty service members or reserve members and their spouses.'

September 4, 2013

They ignore Pentagon directive and cite state's ban on gay marriage

The Texas National Guard defied a Department of Defense directive to provide benefits to the spouses of  gay military personnel on Tuesday (3 September), the first day the benefits became available.

The commanding general of Texas Military Forces is citing a Texas state law which bans same-sex marriage as the reason why.

August 16, 2013

New Jersey Superior Court judge notes she will not hand down a decision in the state's same-sex marriage case until September

Marriage advocates in the US state New Jersey argued to a judge the state's laws for gay couples and families are no longer sufficient after the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.

August 10, 2013

The partners of two gay Israelis relocating to the US for work were able to receive visas thanks to the striking down of the Defence of Marriage Act

The US embassy in Israel has issued partner visas to same-sex couples for the first time.

US Ambassador in Tel Aviv David Shapiro granted visas to the partners of two Israeli gay men relocating to the US for work.

Though same-sex marriages are not legal in Israel, a 2006 ruling mandated that foreign same-sex marriages must be recognized.

July 12, 2013

US Justice Department trying to decide new rules for a post-Defense of Marriage Act world

US President Barack Obama's White House released a statement today (12 July) announcing it instructed the Justice Department to review the recent Defense of Marriage Act decision and its impact on federal policies.

July 7, 2013

Cathy Davis is the first gay immigrant granted a US green card due to a marriage to a same sex spouse

On 3 July, the day before the US celebrated its founding, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) furnished a green card to Cathy Davis because of her marriage to Catriona Dowling.

This made Davis the first immigrant to become a permanent resident based on a same-sex marriage.

July 4, 2013

On DOMA, 56 % percent approve of ruling while 51% agree with court's action on Prop. 8

Nearly a week after the US Supreme Court issued two rulings favorable gay marriage, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans think the justices made the right decisions.

The high court gutted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and let stand a lower court ruling that found California's Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional.

June 27, 2013

Michele Bachmann, Pat Robertson, Chris Christie and Chick-fil-A chairman among those speaking out

As LGBT people and their allies celebrate the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, several socially conservative public figures are slamming the ruling.

Over the past two days, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, televangelist Pat Robertson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy have made their displeasure known.

June 27, 2013

'We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day'

Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law when he was in The White House in 1996.

On Wednesday (26 June), the former Democratic president applauded the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down the law.

He released a joint statement with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former Secretary of State and US Senator and likely 2016 presidential hopeful.

'By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union,' the Clintons stated.

June 27, 2013

Democratic lawmakers have re-introduced a bill that would allow legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits whether their state recognized same-sex marriage or not following the victories in the US Supreme Court

US Democrats Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jerrold Nadler have re-introduced a bill to repeal the rest of the Defense of Marriage Act after the US Supreme Court struck out Section 3 of the law which prevented over a thousand federal benefits going to same-sex married couples.

June 27, 2013

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the Pentagon will move quickly to provide equal benefits to same-sex military spouses following the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike out Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act

The US Department of Defense will begin providing equal benefits to the married spouses of military personnel as quickly as possible according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel – in line with the US Supreme Court’s decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act

June 26, 2013

Defense of Marriage plaintiff Edith Windsor greeted with cheers at the New York City LGBT Center

Edith Windsor, the victorious plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act US Supreme Court ruling, held a press conference today (26 June) at the New York City LGBT Center.

The 83-year-old was cheered and surrounded by cameras as she and her lawyers walked to the podium.

'Because of today's Supreme Court ruling the federal government can no longer discriminate against the marriages of gay and lesbian Americans,' she said in an opening statement.