Monday, April 12, 2010

GLAD's Lee Swislow Speaks OUT on DOMA

Produced by Charlotte Robinson

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with Lee Swislow, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), about their case Gill v. Office of Personnel Management that challenges Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which is set for oral arguments May 6th. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro in the Federal District Court in Boston. The plaintiffs are seven legally married Massachusetts gay couples and three surviving spouses who have been denied federal benefits under section 3 of DOMA. Section 3 states, for the purpose of federal benefits, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. What GLAD is targeting is the exclusion of over eleven hundred federal rights, benefits and responsibilities for legally married gay couples.

Swislow stated, “We feel this lawsuit it crucial because people are getting hurt. We’ve been hearing stories from hundreds of Massachusetts gay couples who have been hurt by their exclusion from federal benefits and we felt it was our duty to bring this suit forward and highlight for people throughout America the real harm that (legally married gay) couples face.”

The real tragedy is LGBT seniors who are not receiving survival benefits and are devastated by not having social security benefits. One of the plaintiffs is Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, who was the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. Hara has been denied any portion of Studds' $114,000 pension after the Democratic Congressman died in 2006. The two married in 2004 after being together for 14 years. "I am not being treated the same as any other surviving spouse of any other federal employee or public servant who has served this country for 27 years, though we were legally married." Hara stated.
For More Info: GLAD.org

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