President Barack Obama's four trillion dollar budget proposal includes a groundbreaking change to the Social Security Act that would ensure all legally married same-sex couples receive the full array of spousal protections no matter which state they call home.
This means that even if a legally married gay or lesbian couple lives in one of the 14 states that still does not recognize marriage equality, they are eligible for the same Social Security benefits and protections as anyone else. Currently, the marriages of same-sex couples who live in any of those 14 backward states are not respected and this can mean a serious drop in benefits after the death of a spouse.
In response to Obama's proposal, Evan Wolson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“Once again, President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to fairness and freedom for all Americans, including same-sex couples and their families. His proposal to ensure equal Social Security benefits would fix a crucial gap in federal protections for same-sex couples. President Obama's leadership in helping bring the freedom to marry to all Americans will be a shining part of this president's legacy. Of course, the only way to ensure same-sex couples nationwide have all the protections of marriage is for the Supreme Court to put the country on the right side of history by ending marriage discrimination throughout the United States, leaving no family and no state behind.”
President Obama has never suggested such a change before, although he went on record with his support for gay marriage in 2012. This proposal would have to be passed by the newly-Republican-led Congress that is wildly divided on gay marriage.