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Patch’s Poll: Should Gay People Be Afforded the Same Federal Rights in Marriage?

A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that a portion of the government’s Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies gay couples access to certain federal benefits.

A federal judge in Hartford ruled on Tuesday that a portion of the U.S. government’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies certain benefits to same-sex couples.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant issued a lengthy decision saying the federal law violates the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection, because of a provision that “obligates the federal government to single out a category of marriage as excluded from federal recognition, thereby resulting in an inconsistent distribution of federal marital benefits."

The case, which was carried out in the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals, involved six married gay couples, and a widower, who were denied federal benefits such as recogition under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Social Security death benefits, the federal tax code and others.

As the AP reported, the couples had worked for the government, and at least one of the plaintiffs was a Navy veteran.

The ruling comes just a few months after a panel of judges in the 1st U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston issued a similar ruling, according to Fox News.

What do you think? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Chivas Sandage August 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
PS to my above comment: It seems appropriate to note that I felt equally heartbroken after reading Susan Schoenberger's recent poll on same-sex marriage. In fact, I wrote to her twice with hopes of having a brief discussion about the effects of this sort of neighborhood poll on the minority individuals and families being argued about. She never responded. A strong supporter of free speech, I also have immense compassion for the interracial couples that endured their neighbors’ prejudice before and after their marriages were finally legalized by the federal government.
J. Sosallter August 13, 2012 at 02:06 AM
And the above comment says it all. Without intending to offend them, several Patch editors are not of lengthy or quality experience as journalists or when it comes to applying much thought to following their employers instructions or guidelines. Another example is the poll posted by Jessica Sawyer about what people thought about the engagement of a person whose family had been murdered. But sadly, these editors are plug and playing with what the parent company (AOL) seems to give as "assignments" - dubious quality polls on current issues that are accompanied by no or minimal research or even understanding. How community "votes" on what private property owners should do with their real estate in commercial zones, or misreporting of police report contents (someone given a traffic citation was reported as "arrested"). In the current situation, the poll is like asking: Mr. and Mrs. Smith applied for a divorce - what is your opinion? should they have the right? or Ms. Jones and Mr. Smith announced their intention to marry - what do you think? Are they suited to marriage and all the benefits and rights? Polls and hack journalism like so many pieces on Patch (not all) serve to divide the community to no purpose/ no education/ no service and further, they do harm. They do not encourage the great many things we all have in common as neighbors. The above comment does more good than any of the rest of these posts, including mine. It puts a face on the matter.
Terry Wright August 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Could not agree more. But I'd like to add that the acceptance of "The Patch" as a legitimate news source doesn't say much for what is left of the "print media" even in it's most recent reincarnation as web oriented news. Unfortunately in places like Granby and other suburban towns, the major papers don't pay attention to what happens here. The Patch has filled a void for daily news, but has not delivered on a quality product. I agree that these divisive types of polls do more to hurt the community than help. They do nothing more than run the numbers up so that they can bill more for advertising.
Quaestor August 17, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Robert P. George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton. He is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and formerly served as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and as a Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States. His Princeton faculty page states the following: "I want to make sure all my students understand why it is that reasonable, well-informed people of good will can be found on both or all sides of the question." He's hardly someone who "dedicated his career to disparaging LGBT people and families." Just typing that clause made me laugh at its absurdity. Some folk just cannot tolerate honest disagreement. By the way, he recently wrote an article on how same-sex marriage undermines freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is well worth the read: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/07
Laura Smith October 24, 2012 at 08:56 PM
My parents have been married for over 58 years now. How does Tim and John getting married invalidate the sancity of my parent's marriage? It doesn't. You need to seperate the religious aspect of marriage from the legal aspect. OF COURSE every religion can decide to honor or not honor or allow or not allow Gay marriage-they have that right. HOWEVER using religious arguments to deny a civil right to a large group of people is quite simply a violation of the basic premise upon which this country was founded-a separation of church and state. How can we offer less protection to the children of homosexuals? Do we also offer less protection to adopted kids? Children conceived thru IVF? Where does the prejudice end? IF a 2 parent family is the ideal (and it can be argued that it is) then what does it matter the genitalia of the parents? And if you can deny rights to people because of their sexual orientation....what comes after that?

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