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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? Should gay people be afforded the same federal rights in marriage as straight people with regard to benefits? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Bill August 02, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Because Ken, words mean things, and for several million people world wide, marriage means a church sacrament. It's funny that the same side that insists on separation of church and state, insist on government being able to define what that sacrament should include.
Ken August 02, 2012 at 01:27 PM
No Bill. As I've already stated this country has drawn a distinction between marriage the sacrament and marriage the social institution almost since its inception. That's why we allow state recognized marriages performed by a justice of the peace, by naval commanders, heck in MA by anyone who applies for a one-day officiating license. None of those marriages are recognized by any church as being sacramental marriages, yet the government has no problem recognizing them. So stop arguing this on the grounds of the sacrament of marriage. No one is trying to change that. And as for the separation of church and state, yes I'm still all for that. I don't want the government siding with religious interests to exclude one segment of our society from the benefits and protections that another segment receives based on religious grounds. You're free to practice your religion however you see fit. But you are not entitled to force your religious views on others. That would be prohibiting those people of the free exercise of their own beliefs, which is in direct violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
kellie d August 03, 2012 at 09:28 AM
Now, ken, you're entering the realms of mindless, cowering idiocy. You are expecting a national, societal change -- the almost eternal societal & religious context of marriage from heterosexual to homosexual -- for a minority group (let's face it, homosexuals are a minority group) because an even smaller minority is unwilling to learn the law. Give me a break! You and the gay community are so twisting things, relying on sheep-like politicians to cower to your wants. You folks are downright un-American in your expectations.
Ken August 03, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Actuallu Kellie I think it's you that needs to wake up here. Around the world in the more enlightened countries this "almost eternal" concept of marriage is being redefined to include ALL couples. Sooner or later it will happen here as well, just as it took us longer than many other countries to change from other such "almost eternal" concepts like slavery. And what exactly is un-American about upholding the notion of equality for all people? To me there is nothing more American than that concept. It's funny how so many Americans can look to the Middle East with condemning attitudes toward many of the Muslim sects there at their rigid intolerance for other beliefs, and at the same time use their own religious beliefs as the basis for blatant discrimination here in this country.
Jack Reed August 17, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Check out this Republican rally in Monroe, Ct. hosted by a Chick-Fil-A supporter. http://monroe.patch.com/articles/bring-on-the-republican-unity-hold-the-chick-fil-a http://monroe.patch.com/articles/republicans-plan-to-unite-after-the-primaries

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