New & Noteworthy:

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is a U.S. federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states and which restricted federal marriage benefits. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA had codified the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Section 3 of DOMA was found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. The U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional on June 26, 2013, “as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” [ Wikipedia → ]

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HHS announces first guidance implementing Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling

Thursday, August 29, 2013
HHS-seal
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives. ...

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Veterans Affairs says it will wait on expanding benefits to same-sex couples

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
veterans-affairs
WASHINGTON - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says Congress or the courts still has more work to do before the VA can provide federal benefits to married, same-sex couples. ...

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Alabama GOP won’t silence same-sex marriage proponent

Saturday, August 24, 2013
Stephanie Petelos
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Alabama's Republican Party decided Saturday against a rule meant to silence a young party leader who supports same-sex marriage, even though the party doesn't share her view. ...

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Texas high court to consider state jurisdiction over same-sex divorces

Saturday, August 24, 2013
Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Supreme Court says it will consider whether the state has jurisdiction over same-sex divorces and the constitutionality of the state's law banning same-sex marriage. ...

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Conn. vet leading legal effort for spousal benefits of gay veterans

Friday, August 16, 2013
Carmen Cardona
HARTFORD, Conn. -- An 18-year Navy veteran from Norwich is joining forces with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to try to persuade the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to abide by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning gay marriage and ...

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Pentagon announces benefits for same-sex spouses of service members

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Chuck Hagel
WASHINGTON -- Same-sex spouses of military members will be eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses starting Sept. 3, the Pentagon said Wednesday. ...

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N.J. judge to hear gay marriage case in first challenge to test DOMA ruling

Sunday, August 11, 2013
gay-marriage
TRENTON, N.J. -- A New Jersey court case headed for oral arguments this week is among the first to test what a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down key parts of a law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage ...

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Social Security begins processing retirement claims for same-sex spouses

Saturday, August 10, 2013
Social-Security-SSA
WASHINGTON -- The Social Security Administration (SSA) said Friday it has begun processing, and paying, some retirement spouse claims for married, same-sex couples. ...

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz: Pray to stop the ‘assault on marriage’

Sunday, July 28, 2013
Ted-Cruz
The Christian Broadcasting Network has released more footage from the recent Religious Right summit in Iowa organized by David Lane and featuring speakers like U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). ...

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FEC: Political donations by married, gay couples require equal treatment

Thursday, July 25, 2013
FEC
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission ruled Thursday that the political contributions of married same-sex couples should be treated equally to the donations of married straight couples, acting after a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court on gay marriage. ...

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