Author Archives: patriot

Social Security Administration Begins Processing Same-Sex Claims

AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
For Immediate Release
AUGUST 9, 2013
Re: Social Security Administration Begins Processing Same-Sex Claims

Contact:
Denny Meyer, AVER Public Affairs, 718 849-5665
Danny Ingram, AVER President, president@aver.us

Atlanta, GA,
Aug 9, 2013 – Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced in a nation-wide telephone conference call today that the Social Security Administration is “beginning to process claims today” for same-sex couples.

American Veterans for Equal Rights joined SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security, and dozens of other national organizations in a conference call that raised more questions than provided answers. Acting Commissioner Colvin frequently reiterated that “the Department of Justice is coordinating the implementation of new policies for all federal agencies,” and that any policies established by SSA must be “cleared by Justice.” But she also affirmed boldly that the SSA is “open for business and accepting claims for benefits” from same-sex couples. The Commissioner recommended repeatedly that “anyone who feels that they are due benefits should apply now,” and that there would be” no penalty for claims that may be denied. No one is to be turned away,” she said.

Many questions were asked about how domestic partnerships and civil unions will differ from marriage, specifically since SSA is using the term “same-sex couples” without the use of the word “married,” but there are as yet no answersto these questions or many, many others involving this very complex issue.  Additionally, questions concerning the federal benefits of same-sex couples legally married in one state but residing in another where their marriage is not recognized, remain largely unanswered. Commissioner Colvin strongly and frequently encouraged interested individuals to visit the SSA homepage located at www.socialsecurity.gov for unfolding policies and answers to questions. A statement by the Commissioner and a special section entitled “Need Information about the Defense of Marriage Act” already appear on the SSA page.

AVER was invited along with other national organizations to partner with the SSA in helping to disseminate information on this critical issue. The changes to SSA and many other federal agencies on the issue of same-sex couples result from the Supreme Court’s June ruling in the “Windsor Decision,” which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

AVER is the nation’s LGBT Veterans’ Service Organization, serving militarypersonnel and veterans since 1990.

www.aver.us

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Upgrade Discharges for Gay Vets

Atlanta, GA (Jul 25, 2013) – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) today introduced legislation, along with 102 bipartisan cosponsors, to ensure that Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual veterans who were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation receive the honor and recognition they deserve. The “Restore Honor to Service Members Act” would instill the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” into law and support the Department of Defense’s efforts to correct the unfairly tarnished military records of our brave service members. Since World War II to the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011, approximately 114,000 service members were discharged because of their sexual orientation. Congressman Pocan is one of 6 openly gay members of the House. Congressman Rangel is a US Army veteran of the Korean War.

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Former Marine Staff SGT Eric Alva Named Speaker For AVER National Convention

FORMER MARINE STAFF SGT ERIC ALVA NAMED SPEAKER FOR AVER NATIONAL CONVENTION

Sgt. Alva

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights has announced that former Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 AVER National Convention being held September 20-22, 2013 at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. Attending the event from across the country, will be active duty service members and veterans going back as far as WWII.

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American Veterans for Equal Rights Applauds Supreme Court Decision

Atlanta, GA (JUN 26, 2013) – In yet another historic victory in the struggle for LGBT civil rights, the Supreme Court today overturned the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law barring federal recognition and benefits to legally married same-sex American couples. This milestone by the nation’s highest judicial body demonstrates the continuing evolution of the understanding of equality and justice in a nation which holds those ideals as core principles of our democratic society. The Supreme Court has affirmed there simply is no justification to deny benefits to one legally married couple that are readily available to other legally married couples. Prejudiced policies that deny equal treatment under the law to LGBT citizens of the United States accomplish nothing more than punishing minority Americans for being different from the majority. There is no rationale in a just society for such a denial of basic rights.

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Happy 90th, Jack Strouss

Today is Jack Strouss’s 90th birthday. Jack’s granddaddy fought in the Civil War, and not many people can say that. Jack’s great uncle Clement was General Clement A. Evans, whose portrait hangs in the Georgia State Capitol. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jack W. Strouss is a quintessential Southern gentleman who can “charm the spots off a leopard”, according to some of his friends. Born June 24, 1923, Jack attended public schools in Atlanta and graduated from Technological High School in 1942.

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Shakeup at OutServe-SLDN

There is news this morning of a shakeup at OutServe-SLDN. American Veterans for Equal Rights strongly supports the mission of SLDN and Outserve. We stand with our sister organization as they face some troubling times. Few organizations have accomplished as much over the years to secure the rights of LGBT service members and provide direct legal support as SLDN, and Outserve is an essential organization in provided support to active duty LGBT service members. This mission is critical, and we wish great success to this organization in overcoming these current challenges. The mission of supporting our LGBT men and women in uniform is first and foremost the basic element of all we do. AVER is confident that OutServe-SLDN will continue to carry out its important and highly valued mission.

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