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When Married Isn't Married: Rights Denied to Gay Spouses

When Married Isn't Married: Rights Denied to Gay Spouses

Hey there, same-sex married couples in Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. So you think you finally got equal rights now that gay marriage is legalized? Think again! Sadly these giant steps toward equality don't go all the way.

Same-sex couples are denied benefits granted to other legally married couples. While gay couples in most US states still have to fight for marriage, once they succeed, the journey is not over. Among the benefits denied to legally married same-sex couples:

  1. Immigration rights: Legally married same-sex couples do not have a right to sponsor their foreign spouses for green cards.
  2. Tax breaks: When filing tax returns, couples cannot check "married filed jointly." This can cost them thousands of dollars each year.
  3. Social Security, Medicaid, veteran, and other federal benefits: The federal Defense of Marriage Act denies same-sex spouses these rights. For example, heterosexual spouses receive Social Security payments upon the death of a spouse.
  4. Family and medical leave: Same-sex spouses are not granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a seriously ill spouse.
  5. Retirement: Same-sex couples cannot inherit 401(k)s and other property without a will.


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