VA and SSA Benefits Now Extended to Missouri’s Married Couples of the Same Sex
October 26, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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ST. LOUIS – When the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, the federal government recognized marriages of same-sex couples for most purposes. However, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs were unable to provide certain benefits to married same-sex couples residing in Missouri because of Missouri’s refusal to recognize their marriages. The benefits included social security benefits for surviving spouses and VA home loans for married couples.
The Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs will now recognize the marriages of all Missourians for all purposes of federal law, regardless of their sexual orientation. The change is a result of a court decision earlier this month requiring Missouri to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples lawfully entered into in other jurisdictions.
"The federal government now recognizes that Missouri treats all married couples the same regardless of their sexual orientation,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri. “Today’s announcement makes clear that married persons in Missouri will no longer face government-sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is rewarding to see married couples treated with equality in Missouri. However, we still have work to do to bring full marriage equality to Missouri and to put safeguards into law to protect lesbians, gay men, and transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.”
The Social Security Administration's guidance about which states recognize marriages between people of the same sex is available at: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210003. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains its list at: http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage/.