SAVE commends Miami-Dade U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for her sponsorship of the Social Security & Marriage Equality (SAME) Act, which if passed would ensure that all same-sex spouses receive equal treatment when applying for Social Security benefits regardless of the state in which they live.
“This bill would bring parity to the benefits that same-sex married couples in South Florida and across the nation deserve," explains Ros-Lehtinen. "Every individual, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, should be able to receive equal treatment, and I’m proud to stand for the ability of South Floridians to be treated equally.”
SAVE has long counted among its strongest allies in Washington Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, who introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives along with Reps. Ron Kind (WI), Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA) and Elizabeth H. Esty (CT). Ros-Lehtinen received the honor of Champion of Equality from SAVE in 2010, and the organization most recently endorsed her in 2012 for election as the representative of Florida's 27th congressional district in Miami-Dade County.
"Representative Ros-Lehtinen is a key ally for South Florida's LGBT community in Washington, DC," says SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima. "Her proactive support for LGBT people has helped make into law many pro-equality proposals like the SAME Act. This step in the right direction is another reminder that fairness is not a partisan issue."
Ros-Lehtinen was one of the founding members of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the House, as well as an early supporter and the first Republican cosponsor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and 2011's Respect for Marriage Act aimed at repealing DOMA. She also sponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which if passed would have banned marriage equality in all 50 states.
If signed into law by President Obama, the SAME Act would amend the Social Security Act to grant survivor benefits to any person legally married anywhere in the United States, regardless of whether he or she lives in a state with marriage equality.
SAVE considers passage of the SAME Act an important step on the road to marriage recognition in Florida as part of the organization's #SAVEMarriage initiative which began earlier this year with the filing of a federal court case aiming to achieve recognition from Florida for same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.
SAVE will continue monitor the progress of the proposal as it makes its way through the U.S. Congress.