Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families deserve the same respect, recognition and protection as all other families. Family recognition and the many rights and protections it provides is essential to the well-being of our families. Same-sex couples, even those legally recognized by their states, are denied the 1,138 federal benefits available to or required of married opposite-sex couples. The denial of those benefits hurts our families.
Notable inroads have been made in the realm of marriage equality. Currently Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., New York, Maine, Maryland and Washington state grant the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. This continues to be a hot-button issue across the nation as more states consider granting this fundamental freedom. Read the Task Force's reaction to the victories in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Washington, D.C., New York, Washington state, and Maryland.
However, in February 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Prop 8 violated the U.S. constitution. The court said, "Propostion 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California."
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two marriage equality cases on March 26 and 27, 2013. Hollingsworth v. Perry is the Proposition 8 case and United States v. Windsor challenges the constitutionality of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).Election 2012 saw stunning results for LGBT equality, including the passage of the first-ever marriage equality measures by popular vote. Maine passed Question 1, the first-ever proactive marriage equality ballot measure, with voters approving it 53 percent to 47 percent. In Maryland, voters passed Question 6, which affirmed a marriage equality law passed earlier this year in the Free State. The vote was 52 percent to 48 percent. In Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional amendment that sought to block same-sex couples from marrying. In Washington state, voters approved Referendum 74, affirming the marriage equality law in that state. Read our statements on each state win here: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state.
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