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Gay married couples get shortchanged over and over again

More than 1,000 federal rights and securities are denied to couples in same-sex marriages not legally recognized by Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, says Vickie Henry, senior staff attorney at Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD. GLAD is a leading advocacy group in the campaign to strike down DOMA.

"Few of those benefits are more important than Social Security," says Crosby Burns, policy analyst of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, an independent, nonpartisan educational institute based in Washington, D.C.

"This program forms part of the bedrock of our nation's safety net," Burns says. "With full and equal access to this social insurance program, families headed by same-sex couples would finally have access to the economic safeguards they need, intended to keep them out of poverty and afloat during hard times."

Chief among them, Henry says, are the spousal benefit, the spousal disability benefit, the lump-sum benefit and the survivors benefit. The children of same-sex parents would also be affected.

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