Quantcast

Saturday, October 25, 2014         

NEW YORK


 Print   Email   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Lawsuits seek federal benefits for gays

By Associated Press

POSTED:



Gay civil rights groups trying to build momentum for a possible Supreme Court showdown filed two lawsuits yesterday that seek to strike down portions of a 1996 law that denies married same-sex couples federal benefits.

The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Connecticut and New York and come just months after a federal judge in Boston struck down a key component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The legal actions seek judicial declarations that the law enacted by Congress in 1996, when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional because it prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples.

Since 2004 five states -- Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts -- and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

In Hartford, Conn., the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders sued the federal government on behalf of a Connecticut widower and married couples from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.

The other suit was filed on behalf of a New York woman, Edith Schlain Windsor, who met her late spouse, Thea Clara Spyer, nearly a half-century ago at a restaurant.

"No one should have to fight with the government after losing the person she's loved for more than four decades," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "Edie and Thea made the same lifelong commitment that other married couples make, and their marriage deserves the same dignity, respect and protection afforded other families."

Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said the Connecticut lawsuit was filed to maintain the momentum the group gained with the success of its challenge against the law in Massachusetts.

The Justice Department said in a statement that it had no response to the lawsuits, except that the government "is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."

RELATED STORIES

Civil unions: The road ahead

Couple fights for rights in public, but lives an ordinary private life

'Today is an amazing day'

Both sides see same-sex marriage in future

Tears and cheers as Abercrombie signs bill

Bill on civil unions to be signed today

Tourism industry split over civil unions' effects

Civil unions to 'bring more people' here

Governor to sign civil unions bill into law next week

'Historic' bill OK'd by Senate

Composure prevails in debate over civil unions

Civil unions bill wins final approval; awaits governor's signature

Civil unions approval expected today

Civil unions on the brink of approval

Panel passes civil unions bill

With bill, Illinois clears civil unions

Civil unions bill moves on

Senate panel OKs SB 232

Testimony by young adults raises issues of religion and marriage

Civil unions bill advances out of Senate committee

Lawsuits seek federal benefits for gays

Legislative numbers favor civil unions law

Civil unions bill fails to shift voters

Isle pair upbeat on gay marriage

Debate keys on civil unions

Ruling energizes civil-union advocates

Civil union opponents regroup after suit filed

Couples sue state over civil unions

Abercrombie stresses support for civil unions measure

Hannemann would veto civil unions

Civil unions veto backlash begins

Judge strikes at gay-union ban

Lingle vetoes civil-unions bill

Emotions run high through crowds

Consequences of HB 444 will be felt at the ballot box

The governor's full civil-unions veto statement

Governor will announce civil unions decision at 3 p.m.

Veto override session dead

Bankoh opposes civil-union bill veto

Civil union supporters rally

Civil unions' fate unknown

Civil-union letter splits firms

Rights group considers boycott involving HB 444

Business Roundtable urges civil union veto

Civil union pairs might face taxes

ON THE WEB






 Print   Email   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

IN OTHER NEWS
Latest News/Updates
Hawaii leads Nevada - 06:45 p.m.