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GLAD Sues Social Security Administration For Lesbian Widow Social Security Benefits - VIDEO

Tevyaw Baker

On Monday, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a lesbian widow seeking parity of Social Security benefits for married same-sex couples, reports Washington Blade.

The litigation was filed by GLAD in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island on behalf of 56-year-old Deborah Tevyaw, who was denied spousal disability benefits and a lump sum death payment from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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In 2005, Tevyaw was married in Massachusetts to Patricia Baker. Baker died in 2011 following a battle against lung cancer. In her final months, she lobbied for the legalization of gay marriage in Rhode Island, testifying on the issue before the state Senate.

However, despite the legality of the marriage, Tevyaw was denied benefits upon her Baker’s death. The SSA at first asserted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) blocked her from receiving benefits. However, even after the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the law was unconstitutional, the SSA allegedly continued to deny Tevyaw benefits on the basis that Rhode Island wouldn’t have recognized her marriage at the time of Baker’s death.

Tevyaw has since been living on a monthly income of $732 and was forced to sell her home she owned for more than 38 years because she can’t afford the mortgage.

In a statement, Tevyaw said:

“I’ve lost my wife and my best friend, and Social Security has made that so much worse by telling me that in their eyes, I was not Pat’s wife. Not only is that hurtful and insulting, it has meant that I am living in poverty. I am not looking for a handout; this is money that Pat earned through hard work.”

The lawsuit also notes Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee’s executive order on May 24, 2012 recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and contends the directive should apply to Tevyaw’s marriage even though Chaffee signed it before Baker’s death.

SSA spokesperson William “BJ” Jarrett said the agency agrees the issue behind the lawsuit “deserves additional consideration. He added that the SSA plans to review its policy manuals based on analysis of Rhode Island state common law.

Watch a 2012 interview with Tevyaw and Baker, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay Groups Launch 'Unprecedented' Campaign Against Pro-LGBT Republican Candidates: READ

Pro-lgbt gop

Anti-gay activist groups The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Family Research Council Action and CitizenLink are launching “an unprecedented campaign” against three Republican candidates because of their support for marriage equality and abortion, reports Buzzfeed.

Family Research Council Action is the legislative arm of rabidly homophobic listed hate group Family Research Council.

Last month, NOM cofounder Robert George said that he couldn't think of any "logical stopping place" between gay-affirming Christians and pedophile-affirming or serial killer-affirming Christians.

The three ultra-conservative groups “will mount a concerted effort to urge voters to refuse to cast ballots” for Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio [top left] in California, Richard Tisei [middle] in Massachusetts and Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby [right] in Oregon. DeMaio and Tisei are the only out LGBT Republican federal candidates from the to appear on the ballot this fall.

A letter  - claiming to speak on behalf of all Americans and possibly suggesting a gay recruitment drive - sent to Republican congressional and campaign leaders yesterday reads in part:

“We cannot in good conscience urge our members and fellow citizens to support candidates like DeMaio, Tisei or Wehby. They are wrong on critical, foundational issues of importance to the American people.

Worse, as occupants of high office they will secure a platform in the media to advance their flawed ideology and serve as terrible role models for young people who will inevitably be encouraged to emulate them.”

The letter goes on to warn Republican leaders that it is a “grave error” for the party to support “candidates who do not hold core Republican beliefs and, in fact, are working to actively alienate the Republican base.”

In a statement, NOM President Brian S. Brown said:

Brown“The Republican Party platform is a ‘statement of who we are and what we believe.’ Thus, the platform supports the truth of marriage as the union of husband and wife, and recognizes the sanctity and dignity of human life.

“We cannot sit by when people calling themselves Republicans seek high office while espousing positions that are antithetical to the overwhelming majority of Republicans.”

Read the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

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GLAD Sues Walmart on Behalf of Employee Denied Health Coverage For Same-Sex Partner

Cote

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a charge of discrimination on behalf of Jacqueline Cote [right], a Walmart employee in Swansea, Massachusetts who was denied spousal health insurance for her wife, reports The Rainbow Times.

Cote’s wife, Diana Smithson is currently battling ovarian cancer.

According to GLAD, Walmart’s refusal of health insurance for Smithson violates both state and federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.

Between 2006 and 2012, Cote attempted to add Smithson to her insurance. However, when she entered her spouse’s gender as “female,” Walmart’s online system would stop her from proceeding further.  When she called the retailer’s home office to investigate further, she was told that Walmart did not offer health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses.

By the time Walmart announced that it would change its policy in 2013, Cote and Smithson had racked up medical bills of more than $100,000.

Janson Wu, senior staff attorney at GLAD, said “all that Jackie wanted was to be treated like all other Walmart employees and to take care of her spouse. Instead, Walmart chose to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees.”


Massachusetts Could Make History This Fall Electing First Out Gay Attorney General, Lt. Governor

Massachusetts

On Tuesday night, two openly gay candidates secured their party's nominations in the Massachusetts primary, paving the way for a history-making election night on November 4th.

Maura Healey (top left) beat out former state senator Warren Tolman to become the Democratic nominee for attorney general. Steve Kerrigan (top right), became the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee alongside gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. If Healey and Kerrigan are elected this fall, they would be the first LGBT people to hold their respective positions in the United States.

Buzzfeed reports:

“As an advocate, as a prosecutor, and as a civil rights attorney, you have got to make your case and you have it give it all of your heart,” Healey said in her victory speech. “We have made our case tonight.”

As an assistant attorney general in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Healey played a key role in the state’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing against DOMA’s constitutionally at the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012.

Martha Coakley, Kerrigan's gubernatorial running mate, coincidentally filed the very same DOMA suit in 2009 while serving as attorney general. 

Kara S. Coredini of MassEquality was thrilled with the primary's outcome:

“Tonight was a tremendous night for LGBTQ justice and equality. Voters saw Steve Kerrigan and Maura Healey for what they offer and not solely who they are — and both won by resounding margins. For the young LGBTQ people growing up anywhere in Massachusetts and anywhere in the country, the people of Massachusetts have said to them tonight, it’s what you do that matters, and we celebrate who you are...

Massachusetts is poised to shatter several glass ceilings after tonight. Our first elected female Governor of Massachusetts, our first openly gay Lieutenant Governor and state Attorney General in Massachusetts and the country, and the second female treasurer in the Commonwealth’s history, which is a great accomplishment given the glass ceiling that has existed for women in politics, both statewide and nationally. They will bring to the job the wisdom and insight of the lives they’ve led, and they will give hope to all that follow.”

Congratulations to Healey, Kerrigan, and Coakley!


Check Out This Stunning View of Provincetown Shot by a Drone: VIDEO

Boatslip

Videographer David Cox brought his DJI Phantom Vision drone to Provincetown, Massachusetts to document some of the resort town's many appealing features including the Cape Cod National Seashore, the picturesque harbor, the Pilgrim Monument, the bustling tea dance, as well as last week's costumed Comic Book Carnival Parade (see our photo gallery HERE), much of it from a great height and in glorious HD.

His clip will make those of you who love this place feel the urge to "come home."

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Parade

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Provincetown's Comic Book Carnival Springs to Life in These 120 Sexy, Superpower-ful Instagram Pics: PHOTOS

Justice

Every year in August more than 90,000 people descend on the gay and lesbian resort destination of Provincetown, Massachusetts for the town's annual Carnival celebration. This year, balmy, late summer temperatures combined with festive vacation spirits turned out animated characters and 'Cape crusaders' in force for 2014's theme: Comic Book Capers.

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We've collected 120 of our favorite Instagram pics featuring more Supermen, X-Men, Batmen than you can leap in a single bound along with a few Poison Ivies, a couple of Hat Sisters, an Iron Man, a dozen Robins, the Flash, a Green Lantern or two, Smurfs, Babs, Captain America, a group of Roy Lichtenstein gals, more than one Ambiguously Gay Duo, Wonder Women, a few Drag Race celebutantes, the nation's supply of spandex, and a few guys who are just plain Super.

Watch the comics come to life in the nation's LGBT playground, AFTER THE JUMP...

Also, don't miss our Instagram galleries from BEAR WEEK and FAMILY WEEK.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram at TLRD for more photos from Provincetown this summer.

Couple

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