Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Dud for Studds

Former Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress (McCarthy never fessed up...), has been in the news a lot lately because he's a Democrat who had his own page sex scandal in the early 80s. As bad luck would have it, he died last week. He was legally married to another man in Massachusetts at the time of his death.

Had he been married to a woman, his widow would receive Studds' pension, amounting to some $60,000 per year. Because he was married to a man, the federal government is refusing to pay up.

Here's a tidbit from the AP story that I bet you didn't know:
Under federal law, pensions can be denied only to lawmakers' same-sex partners and people convicted of espionage or treason (emphasis added).
Gay people and traitors. Hmmm. What's the government trying to tell us here?

Note: This has nothing to do with Studds' salacious sex scandal. Had he been removed from Congress, fine. He should have been. But he wasn't. Therefore, he—or his surviving family—deserves that pension. But, to quote from another Washington scandal, that all depends on what the meaning of "family" is.
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