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Local same-sex couples monitor Supreme Court arguments
ALBANY – Nearly two years after the State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act, married same-sex couples do not receive the same federal benefits as married heterosexual couples. Oral arguments on the issue will begin Wednesday as the Supreme Court considers the issue.
“I think the different set of rules is extremely frustrating, but i think it's also frustrating that a serious, personal commitment that somebody makes to the person that they love is a political question in the first place,” said Jason Ganns, who married his partner of five years.
Ganns estimates he pays more than $1,000 in taxes because the federal government doesn’t view his marriage equally.
“I think over and above the financials is just having the government to whom i pay taxes and to whom i consider myself a citizen acknowledge that my family is just as good as anyone else’s,” said Ganns.
Other same-sex couples do not get the same social security survivor benefits and income tax breaks as heterosexuals.
“For same sex couples three’s concern for impoverishment after a partner passes away because those protections are denied to same sex couples currently,” said Curran Streett with the Pride Center of the Capital Region.
Legal experts believe the Supreme Court will look at the case as an issue of state’s rights and leave the decision whether to allow same-sex marriages at the local-level, instead of making a decision that affects all 50 states.
“It seems as though because states have given this right why should the federal government be taking it away from this group of people. What is the rationale that the federal government has for discriminating against this group of people when they are legally married and it's recognized in a jurisdiction?,” said CBS 6 Legal Expert Paul DerOhannesian. “The flip side is the federal government and congress can regulate and say there's a benefit to having a family."