US: Bill seeks to grant equal social security rights to same-sex couples

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A new bill seeks to allow the US Social Security Administration to give equal rights for benefits to legally married gay and lesbian coupes.

Two Democratic senators, Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado, introduced the bill this week.

Currently, if gay or lesbian spouses who live in states which do not recognise same-sex marriage, apply for Social Security benefits, their applications are put on hold.

The Social Security and Marriage Equality Act (SAME) would make any legally married couple eligible for survivor benefits, irrespective of which state they live in.

“The current delay of survivor benefits claims by the Social Security Administration not only places an unfair economic burden on legally married same-sex couples, but an extremely emotional one as well,” Murray said on Thursday in a statement.

“Your zip code should not determine whether or not your family will have the means to survive after the death of a spouse,” Murray continues.

“While I believe the Social Security Administration can, and should, resolve this inconsistency through administrative action, the SAME Act would provide a roadmap to ensure equality under our federal laws do not end at state lines.”

“Marriages don’t end when couples cross state lines, and neither should the federal benefits they have earned,” Udall added in the statement.

“Whether it’s veterans’ home loans or spousal survivor benefits, I won’t rest until the federal government treats all marriages equally.”