Obama Urges Reversal On Prop. 8 While U.S. Military Liberalizes Benefits For Gay Couples

March 5, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone
By Law Offices of James V. Sansone on March 5, 2013 8:00 AM |

96981501_video_large.jpgOn February 28, President Barack Obama urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban. His action is the first time a U.S. president has urged the nation's highest court to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Specifically, the president's brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, which currently prohibits gay marriage in the state.

Benefits Not Available to Gay Couples

While California - and seven additional states - allows same-sex civil unions, marriage is not allowed, precluding gay couples from enjoying the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, including:

  • Social Security benefit.
  • Tax-free inheritance for the surviving spouse.
  • Family and medical leave.
  • COBRA health insurance benefits

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, gay marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Benefits Liberalized for Gay/Lesbian Partners in Military Service

While the U.S. Supreme Court sorts out Proposition 8, the U.S. military has taken some steps of its own recently to expand benefits to gay and lesbian partners that will take effect later this year, between August 1 and October 1, 2013. The benefits will include:

  • Military identification cards.
  • Access to military commissaries, gymnasiums, and movie theaters.
  • Access to Family support programs.
  • Opportunity to fly on Defense Department aircraft when space is available.

For military personnel to be eligible to receive full benefits, the U.S. Supreme Court would need to rule that the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 was unconstitutional and therefore should be repealed. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A final ruling on this issue should be available this summer.

Presently, Pentagon officials estimate that 5,600 in the active-duty members, 3,400 soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve, and 8,000 military retirees and veterans are expected to apply for benefits for their same-sex domestic partners.

Do you have questions about your divorce, children's issues, same-sex unions, or spousal support? If so, call me or schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of James V. Sansone at 707-623-1875 707-623-1875 FREE or contact me by email. You can find additional information on family law, children's issues, spousal support, domestic violence as well as a list of resources you'll find helpful on our website