The Justice Department has finally advised Social Security on how it must treat same sex marriages. It only took them a year after the Windsor decision! Social Security has been recognizing same sex marriages ever since Windsor as long as the parties to the marriage live in a state that recognizes same sex marriage but has been putting a hold on cases where the parties live in a state that doesn't recognize same sex marriages. The Justice Department has now told Social Security that it may recognize same sex marriages if a party to the marriage gets on benefits based upon that marriage while living in a state that recognizes same sex marriages but then moves to a state that doesn't recognize same sex marriages. As an example, let's say a same sex couple from my state, North Carolina, which doesn't recognize same sex marriages, travels to the District of Columbia where they can be legally married. The couple returns to North Carolina and eventually one of them applies for Social Security benefits based upon that marriage. Under this policy, they won't get the benefits. They would if they had stayed in the District. However, if they had lived in the District after the marriage and one of them had gotten benefits based upon the marriage and then they had moved to North Carolina, they could keep their benefits. This sounds crazy enough but it gets worse. What if they get married in the District but later separate, with one living in the District but the other in North Carolina and only become eligible for benefits after the move? Under this policy, the one who stays in the District is married and can get benefits based upon the marriage but the one who moves to North Carolina isn't married and can't get benefits based upon the marriage.
This is nuts. Either the Supreme Court must decide that people have a Constitutional right to marry a person of their same gender or Congress needs to pass a law requiring that Social Security accept same sex marriages nationally. What we've got now is unworkable.