January 06, 2011 Articles

Numbers Tell a Story: Recent Litigation in LGBT Issues

By Larry D. Smith

We are a profession intrigued by numbers. Some are dry but necessary—accounting debits and credits, for example. Numbers can, of course, have great weight and urgency. For example, numbers tell the long journey the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (gay) community has traveled to secure liberties guaranteed to all citizens.

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, there are 1,138 federal statutory provisions classified in the U.S. Code in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges. U.S. General Accounting Office Report, January 23, 2004, at 1. The topic of gay marriage has become a political football. Devoid of the rhetoric, logic alone cannot explain more than 1,000 government benefits available only to married citizens while the government simultaneously denies select citizens the ability to marry.

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