Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married
The U.S. General Accounting Office Does the Numbers
© October 23, 2005, Demian


Although the marriage contract is governed by state law, the federal government uses marital status as the qualification for more than 1,049 federally regulated rights and responsibilities.

The so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” changes the role of the federal government to also define legal marriage, a state right under the U.S. Constitution, and block same-sex couples from full citizenship, should any state decide to offer legal marriage.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) was asked by congressional members to compile a list of U.S. federal laws which are affected by marital status. The results of their first study was completed on January 31, 1997.

The GAO subsequently did a second search for the federal laws that are triggered by legal marriage. In December 31, 2003, it identified a total of 1,138 federal statutory provisions classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.

      List of Federal Marriage Laws - 2003

      List of Federal Marriage Laws - 1997

Partners Task Force also compiled a list in 2003 of federal regulations by searching various government databases:

      Partners List of
      U.S. Federal Regulations Triggered by Legal Marriage - 2003


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