Human Rights group to vote on resolution tonight

If passed, would affirm same sex marriage rights

GREENFIELD — The chairman of the town’s Human Rights Commission hopes its members will decide next week to send a resolution to President Barack Obama and Congress asking that they guarantee that the same federal benefits extended to heterosexual married couples will be equally extended to same-sex married couples “swiftly and smoothly.”

“Constitutional rights that are not immediately, fully and fairly implemented and protected are not effective consitutional rights,” said commission Chairman Lewis Metaxas, who said the commission will hold a public hearing today at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision that found the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Metaxas said if the commission passes the resolution, it would be the first resolution adopted in the history of the Greenfield Human Rights Commission.

Metaxas said Precinct 7 Town Councilor Karen “Rudy” Renaud, the author and sponsor of the council’s first diversity resolution, will be the commission’s guest speaker. He said all residents of Greenfield and of Franklin County are welcome to attend today’s public hearing.

The commission’s proposed resolution seeks to guarantee same-sex married couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples by calling on the president and Congress to exampt any and all federal agencies tasked with the implementation of same-sex marriage equality, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, from the fiscal mandates of the federal sequestration, which has led to layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes within those departments, said Metaxas.

“In addition to implications for Social Security benefits, veterans benefits and child-care rights, the ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional has tax implications,” said Metaxas. “Couples may be able to amend their prior years’ tax returns to receive large refunds now that their marriages are recognized by the federal government. Due to the inability to file joint tax returns, these same-sex married couples were denied deducations and credits allowed to married heterosexual couples, such as tax allowances offered to those selling a home and child-care related credits.”

Metaxas said if passed by the commission, the resolution will be sent to Obama, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

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