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.

Olive3 August 01, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I believe that same sex should be able to share their love with each other. To call it "marriage" is not the same as between a man and a women. I think civil union would be a more appropriate name. This civil union would then allow partners to a persons beneficiary or insurance benefit recipient as well as all legal matters. No one should deny that any two people who proclaim love for each other, should be able to live and share legally what each other agrees. The other aspect of this debate is determined by what religious affiliation any two people proclaim to be and what they follow and are expected to follow in their religious beliefs. Long ago people of same sex getting married would never be thought of. What we learned was something wrong is now encouraged to be very right. I don't know what is right or wrong anymore. But after thirty years of marriage to my husband, I can't help to feel to feel sad that the core of what a marriage and a family makeup, (a mother, father and children) is being lost.
Trish Neild Barry August 02, 2012 at 12:48 AM
That core forced a lot of people to stay in unhappy and unhealthy relationships not being true to themselves or their families benefitting no one. Religious beliefs have forced more than a few people to stay in abusive marriages, because "vows were for life" and really, did that help the couple ot the children? Just because you were taught it, for years, and it worked for you, does not mean it worked for everyone. A marriage between two people who love each other is a special union. It can be between a man and a woman, or it can be same sex. If two people can find each other and work together to raise happy healthy children together who can make it in this world without being too scarred by all the outside forces... well than I would call that a marriage and pretty darned lucky. I am not diminishing your 30 year marriage, or the 45 year marriage of my parents. But I know many loving same sex married couples who make wonderful parents, and honestly, I just don't see why this is still an issue.
Olive3 August 02, 2012 at 01:04 AM
My point wasn't to say that same sex married couples aren't wonderful people...that is why this issue is so difficult. We all have feelings and hearts and brains. But, traditional values are based on religious beliefs and that is a very powerful thing. If people believe in God and that He created a man and a woman for purposes of recreating life between them, then this issue is disturbing. We are also taught that God loves all people and that we should too and not judge. And this is the reason that it's still an issue.
Trish Neild Barry August 02, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Well, God didn't write the bible.. man did, and man came up with the stories, but I have my thoughts on religion and you have yours. But we both agree on not judging wonderful people . And if we aren;t going to judge them, we can trust wonderful people to raise children, and there is more than one way to recreate life whether you are a man and a woman or same sex. Families are made lots of different ways and it is a wonderful eye opening thing to teach our kids, that it is more than just a MOM/DAD/KID world out there. And we are all luckier for it.
stluva50s August 02, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Olive, You might as well have said "some of my best friends are gay" which no doubt would be untrue. Anyway, as someone who is a product of 12 years of Parochial education (does not make me holier than thou)and someone who believes in God, I take issue with your reasoning. I don't know about YOUR God, but my God taught me that all people are the same in his eyes. My God taught me that he loves ALL of his creatures and that we should too. So now, with this in mind, explain to me why two people of the same sex cannot fall in love and live together in holy matrimony for the rest of their lives. I know you will come back to me with copious excerpts from the Bible or biblical teachings from the Book Of Olive. But the bottom line will be that you have no explanation other than the fact that bigotry guides your feelings on this. That said, can you honestly give me non-religious reasons why this should not be? Again no. Does it REALLY affect you personally if 2 gay people marry and have equal rights? Again, no. How sad that your interpretation of God's teachings do not include all his children while my interpretation does. I'll stick with my version.
Olive3 August 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Are you telling me that what I have been taught through my religion is wrong? What I was taught by my parents as wrong is right? And what I was taught an illegal and immoral behavior should legal and ok? Because as a child I didn't know that I was being raised a bigot. Today, I don't feel like a bigot. Were my parents bad people? How about their parents? All of them were kind and caring people who wanted to instill values in me to better my life.The rules have been broken. I didn't make up the rules but have followed them all my life thinking I was doing the right thing. I will defend my value system because I believe many people have been raised the same as me, to love God and one another as ourself. So I can understand and feel for same sex people but I don't have to be made to believe that it is right.
Trish Neild Barry August 02, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I am not telling you that you have to believe anything. But you yourself have stated that you agree that people can love one another. What you were taught by your parent is what they knew, it was a different world at that time, and times have changed. SOmetimes, you have to accept that things change. Rules within the church itself have changed with the times... because they were "unpopular" I mean look at fasting. At one time you were going to hell if you didnt fast for 12 hours before SUnday mass. THen people were passing out all over the place... the church said "whoah... not good" and changed it to an hour... THere used to be millions of babies in "Limbo" and then the church did away with it... and what? They all floated up to heaven? Granted it takes forever for the church to come up to modern day times, but it is not to say that it wont eventually happen, and then.. what.. all that time everyone said it was wrong.. and they were going to hell... ZOOM! Straight up to heaven! See... Things just change. It isnt to diminish what you were taught... but things do change. You can have core values... of goodness, and honesty, and that is what a marriage should be based on.
Bluephantom Inc. August 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Please, Please, Please, do not let religion become the forefront of this argument. There are two things to never talk about at your kitchen table, religion, and politics, unfortunately this article brought people to speak of both. But for a second, please, lets focus on the specifics: 1.) Marriage, as defined by Merrian-Webster Dictionary, as; 1. a : being in the state of matrimony : wedded b : of or relating to marriage : connubial 2 united, joined Whether or not you feel differently about the word, the common understanding of marriage holds no religious specifics to it. 2.) The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution reads, “"Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right…) On October 1st, 2008, Gov. Jodi Rell signed into law Same-Sex Marriage, granting all parties, “… the same rights and responsibilities under state law as marriage…” Therefore my friends, based on the facts alone, “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,” Is ABSOLUTELY Correct !!! Government shell make no law that overshadows a States Rights to individuals Freedom.
Kathie August 02, 2012 at 07:23 PM
What ever suits You .. as long as You love each other.. me I'm Straight
Kathie August 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
And also Catholic..I love Your Comment, STluva50s
stluva50s August 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Olive, You sound indoctrinated, not taught. Religion does not deal with civil law so your reference to illegal and legal behavior crosses the line. If you want to set yourself up as the moral police, then knock yourself out. However, you have no right to impose your religious convictions on the civil rights of others. God created man with a free will. I use that free will to think for myself. The bigoted teachings that are disguised as religious doctrine are twisted to instill fear in people like you. There are no rules Olive. You are free to think and make choices. You contradict yourself when you state ".. I believe many people have been raised the same as me, to love God and one another as ourself." You say that you were taught to love God and others as you love yourself. Well Olive, you don't! "So I can understand and feel for same sex people." No Olive, you can't!. I was raised by Catholic parents married for over 50 years who were part of what is referred to as the greatest generation. In spite of being raised in a time when gay people were closeted and shunned, my parents taught all of us that all people are God's creatures and deserved our respect. These are the rules I was raised with and I can guarantee Olive that my "rules" are closer to God's intentions than your rules. Just like religion, bigotry is taught. Just like religion, bigotry can be practiced or discarded. You have chosen to practice bigotry and call it religion.
Trish Neild Barry August 02, 2012 at 11:22 PM
why do people always bring in the animal thing? You know what Mike, If you want to marry a kangaroo, go for it. And if that kangaroo can work for a living and get a W2 and pays taxes, and pays into the Social Security system all the better. But really. Again. Why does everyone have to take the Webster Dictionary or the Bible as the end all be all. Think... just think.... people. Stop living in the box of what original definitions were... accept what is... there is more than one way to reproduce a family no matter what the two sexes of the marriage are. And two people can choose to live in a marriage without wanting to want to reproduce the family (yep even man/ woman... and just enjoy the act that would get you there.) It is truly amazing how in this day and age how close minded so many people still are.
Olive3 August 03, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Like you new generation people would say "Whatever" Thought for today: Take time to listen to an older person...you may learn something.
stluva50s August 03, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Olive, I am probably older than you. I learned something from you though. You are a bigot through and through. Your silly "Whatever" affirms that. By the way, most in this "new generation" would learn nothing from you except to run like hell from someone with distorted and bigoted views like yours. For your information Olive, stating "Whatever" means you have no comeback, no argument and NOTHING whatsoever to teach anyone.
Trish Neild Barry August 03, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I don't know how much of a "new generation" I am... I will be 40 this year. But obviously, I do not say "whatever" I think and speak for myself. I always have. Occasionally got in some trouble for it, but my parents always supported me. We didn't always agree, but they supported me. I learned to do stand up for what I believe in by listening to my parents and grandparents who did the same. And I will teach my kids to think and speak for themselves and I will support them and not demand they blindly go along and believe what others have believed in for years... I don't know too many people in the current generations who are "whatever"
stluva50s August 03, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Well said Trish.
Olive3 August 04, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Are you two all worked up about this blog? Your right, there is no comeback or argument I could say that would change YOUR minds. I have been watching this opinion page grow into something of an out of control gang up on someone you don't even really know. All that you have been demonstrating here is that you are the intolerant ones, the judgemental ones towards anyone who doesn't think the same way you do. I really proved that I was a bigot, it could be said the other way around. Be careful you may be your own worst enemy. The real difference between us is that I would never stoop to publicly calling someone hurtful names. Thank you for the conversation.
Trish Neild Barry August 04, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Reread my posts, I have never called anyone a name.
stluva50s August 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I'll own it but I stand my comment. I am not the one who refuses to accept everyone as they are Olive, you are. Here is the official definition of a bigot: Adj. 1. bigoted - blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others; "a bigoted person"; "an outrageously bigoted point of view" Trish did not use this term, I did. I am done with this subject.


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