NOTE: The 1,138 federal rights noted here are the rights that are granted to American couples who are united in civil marriage. These rights are not given to people who are not married/cannot marry, to people who are united in Civil Unions, or to people who are in Registered Domestic Partnerships. This page refers to the federal rights that were unavailable to legally married same-gender couples prior to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on 26 June 2013 in the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor. These federal rights are still unavailable to the majority of same-gender couples in the 37 states where marriage equality does not exist - unless those couples travel to another state that recognizes marriage equality in order to marry.
1,138 FEDERAL RIGHTS
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In 1997, the General Accounting Office of the Federal Government compiled a list of 1,049 rights and benefits which were related to civil marriage. In 2004 they did an update covering changes that had been made between 1996 and 2003 and found there are a total of 1,138 federal rights, benefits and privileges connected to marital status. The list includes thirteen categories of rights and benefits, including:
- Social Security and Related Programs, Housing, and Food Stamps
- Veterans' Benefits
- Federal Civilian and Military Service Benefits
- Employment Benefits and Related Laws
- Immigration, Naturalization, and Aliens
- Trade, Commerce, and Intellectual Property
- Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest