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National News: October 2013 In The News 

National News: October 2013

Same-sex couples get equal tax treatment

The US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service will begin honoring married lesbian and gay couples, regardless of where they live, with the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. 

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew promised that those who are legally married can “move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.” The new policy is not extended to couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions.

In other news, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) still cannot extend spousal benefits to former military service members because federal rules that determine eligibility for benefits define “spouse” as a person of the opposite sex, according to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki insists that the VA is working with the Department of Justice to determine whether the rules are constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Study highlights gender protection law

Amending Maryland’s civil rights law to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity would extend protections to an estimated 53 percent of Maryland’s population, including approximately 9,200 transgender people, according to a Williams Institute report. Reid Rasmussen and Christy Mallory, Fellows of Law and Policy, authored the study.

Gay Arizona school board member target of smear campaign

In 2011 Daniel Hernandez Jr. helped save Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford’s life. Now, the former intern, who was elected to the school board for the Sunnyside Unified School District later that year, is facing a recall and an anonymous anti-gay smear campaign.

Right Wing Watch reported that flyers being passed around to constituents in southern Tucson and adjacent areas in Pima County blast Hernandez for being gay and for supporting gun control measures.
“Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board [sic],” reads one flyer, with a picture of Hernandez speaking at an Equality Forum event. “Daniel Hernandez is GLBT. We need someone who will support Sports and cares about our kids. We don’t need someone who hates our values. RECALL Daniel Hernandez TODAY [sic].”

Four of the five members of the school board are also facing recall because they voted to extend the superintendent’s contract.

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