Until the Supreme Court struck down the offensively-named Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, 2013, married LGBT couples did not have access to the full range of Social Security’s family protections guaranteed to other Americans. Yet, even then, same sex couples could marry only in some states. Fortunately, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all states, along with the same benefits and protections accorded to different-sex marriages. Access to the entirety of Social Security’s benefits for all Americans is not just a question of equality, but of economic security. In addition to the retirement, disability and survivor insecurities faced by other Americans, LGBT men and women continue to face employment and other kinds of discrimination, against which they remain unprotected in many parts of the country. This can result in, among other things, reduced employment opportunities, lower wages and arbitrary dismissal. This workplace discrimination makes Social Security especially important to LGBT Americans. Social Security should not only be protected for our nation’s LGBT Americans; it should be expanded.
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