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Married Same-Sex Couples Get Tax, Medicare Equality

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The US Treasury Department and Health and Human Services have both announced that they will be extending benefits to same-sex couples thanks to the declaration that the Defense of Marriage Act, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

The Family Equality Council praised the announcement out of the US Treasury Department that they will consider married same-sex couples as married for the purposes of federal tax collection.

Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) praised the move saying “I applaud the Department of Treasury for siding with equality and treating all legally married couples in America the same. Loving same-sex couples should not be afraid they could lose their federal benefits or protections simply by moving to another state. Today’s decision continues our nation’s forceful progress toward recognizing the rights and responsibilities of all loving couples.”

Pocan is openly gay.

Gabriel Blau, the Executive Director of the Family Equality Council also said that “This announcement is yet another giant step forward for our families. The Federal Government will now acknowledge same-sex couples, and their children, as a family under the tax code, regardless of their zip code.”

US-DeptOfHHS-Seal.svgHe went on to say “This is a significant win for the millions of our families who work hard, pay taxes and deserve to be recognized equally by the Federal Government. Once again the Obama Administration has demonstrated that they value the lives and contributions of the 3 million LGBT parents in the US raising 6 million children”

Meanwhile, HHS has made it clear that they will be extending Medicare benefits to married same-sex couples. According to TalkingPointsMemo married couples enroled in Medicare Advantage “are entitled to coverage for nursing-home residency in the same facility where their spouse resides. Until DOMA was overturned, that benefit had been denied to same-sex married couples, forcing them to either live in another nursing home or pay out-of-pocket to live in the same place as their spouse, according to HHS.”

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that “HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS program. Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

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