BOSTON (AP) - Former Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress, was married to another man in Massachusetts at the time of his death, but the federal government will not pay death benefits to his spouse.And of course denying benefits is what it's all about. This is the price of bigotry, our own self-respect. Civil rights should apply to all or they apply to none. This is digusting and the law can't be changed fast enough.
Studds married Dean Hara in 2004 after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. But Hara will not be eligible to receive any portion of Studds' estimated $114,337 annual pension because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act bars the federal government from recognizing Studds' marriage.
Peter Graves, a spokesman for the Office of Personnel Management, which administers the congressional pension program, said same-sex partners are not recognized as spouses for any marriage benefits. He said Studds' case was the first of its kind known to the agency.
Under federal law, pensions can be denied only to lawmakers' same-sex partners and people convicted of espionage or treason, Graves said.
Come November, quickly!