Even we can be flexible when it comes to same-sex-marriage coverage. We cite the Lowell Sun for an article that well illustrates the destructive pettiness of the federal DOMA.
The legal husband of the recently deceased U.S. Rep. Gary Studds, Dean Hara won't get any of the $114,337 annual pension that a surviving Congressman's spouse would get otherwise.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Spokesman Chad Cowan said, "A gay spouse will not receive any sort of pension or annuity or anything like that. It's not anything that anybody in our office has seen before."
Studds died last week after service in Congreess from 1972 through 1997. He and Hara legally married here. Were Hara a woman and the wife, he could get $62,000 annually.
Instead, he gets zip, nada, nil, zero. The DOMA limits federal benefits of any type to "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife."
GLAD's Legal Director Gary Buseck, legal director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders held out a slight hope that "at some point Congress would address the inequities" in the law. There are plenty of people being impacted. But this is the first time right in the congressional family a distinguished member is being treated differently than other members."
Another, if you pardon, queer aspect of the federal pension law is that convicted felons who serve time in prison get their money, automatically and not subject to challenge. That's true even for those who abused their office to enrich themselves. For example, Rep. Bob Ney awaits sentencing (up to 10 years plus fines) after pleading guilty to taking lobbyist bribes. He has a lifetime pension of about $29,000, including while he is in the slammer.
So pick your moral values. A loving legal marriage is unworthy of the benefits given to ex-Congress Reps who are felons.
Tags: massmarrier, same sex marriage, Massachusetts, DOMA, pension, Gary Studds, Lowell Sun, Dean Hara