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US Congress member seeks social security equality for same-sex couples

US Congress member seeks social security equality for same-sex couples

A California congresswoman on Thursday (26 April) introduced a bill aimed at ending a Social Security Administration policy that denies benefits to same-sex couples.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, who represents her state's 39th congressional district, was flanked at a Capitol Hill press conference by LGBT advocates from across the country including actor George Takei.

She said the Social Security Equality Act of 2012 would eliminate the Social Security Administration’s policy preventing same-sex couples from receiving the same spousal, survivor and death benefits of their heterosexual counterparts. It would require those benefits be provided to same sex couples in relationships that have been recognized by the state where they live.

'No American should ever be treated differently by the country they love because of who they love,' Sanchez said. 'Social Security is based on a simple formula – work hard, pay into it with each paycheck, and be able to retire with dignity.'

'This must apply to all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation,' she added. 'It is time the Social Security Administration ends a misguided policy that discriminates against same-sex couples.'

Lorri L. Jean, chief executive office of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, was also present at the event and called the current policy 'not only wrong, it’s un-American.'

'The Social Security Equality Act will make a crucial difference to countless elderly LGBT people who are struggling to survive because their own government has denied them the Social Security benefits their spouse’s paid for and to which they are entitled,' Jean said.

The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

It not only has the support of LA Center, but also of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, AIDS Community Action Foundation, SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), and PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).