Tuesday, September 10, 2013

White House LGBT Update: September 10, 2013

The White House

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Good afternoon,

In this White House LGBT Update, you will learn about the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to advance equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Please feel free to share this news with your colleagues and networks, and please encourage them to sign up for updates

Gautam Raghavan
Office of Public Engagement
The White House

P.S.: If you're on Twitter, you can follow Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett at @VJ44, Public Engagement Director Paulette Aniskoff at @PAniskoff44, and Director of Specialty Media Shin Inouye at @Inouye44!

Watch Live on Thursday: Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT Community

Despite the tremendous progress we've made in achieving equality for the LGBT community, many still face limited access to health care and insurance, and are less likely to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy. 

Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it's also known, directly addresses some of these needs.

The Affordable Care Act could truly transform the health and well-being of the LGBT community for generations to come, and the upcoming open enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplace – from October 2013 to March 2014 – provides an important opportunity to get folks enrolled.

That's why the White House Office of Public Engagement and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are teaming up to host a Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT Community, this Thursday, September 13th. The event will include remarks by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as an exciting presentation of important new research on how LGBT communities perceive and access health care, and suggested messaging strategies for reaching key sub-communities.

And you can watch it live from home! Tune in to http://whitehouse.gov/live on Thursday, September 13th, starting at 1:15 p.m. EDT.

Read more here.

Attorney General Holder Announces Move to Extend Veterans Benefits to Same-Sex Married Couples

Last week, in the Obama Administration's latest step to ensure equal treatment for same-sex married couples following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that President Obama has directed the Executive Branch to take steps allowing for same-sex spouses of military veterans to collect federal benefits. 

The new policy means that the administration will no longer enforce statutory language governing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) that restricts the awarding of spousal benefits to opposite-sex marriages only. The language, contained within Title 38 of the U.S. Code, has, until now, prevented the Executive Branch from providing spousal benefits to veterans—and in some instances active-duty service members and reservists—who are in same-sex marriages recognized under state law. 

Learn more about the announcement and read the Attorney General's letter to Congressional leaders.

IRS Recognizes All Legal Same-Sex Marriages 

Recently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that all legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes.

The decision is notable because it provides same-sex couples with the certainty that their federal filing status will remain the same regardless of where they move throughout the country.  The ruling determined that, if a same-sex couple's marriage took place in a state or jurisdiction where it is legally recognized, the couple will be treated as married for all related federal tax provisions.  This even applies if the couple relocates to a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew further outlined the significant impact of this ruling last week, by explaining that it "provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve."

Read more about this important announcement and the overwhelmingly positive response it received across a broad spectrum of individuals, advocacy groups and media outlets.

Tweet of the Week 

In Case You Missed It 

Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Thomas Perez as Secretary of Labor, at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC, Sep. 4, 2013. Also pictured are (from left) Rafael Perez, Ann Staudenmaier, Amalia Perez, and Susana Perez. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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