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Thornton v. Saul (formerly Thornton v. Berryhill)

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Helen Thornton and Marge Brown
Court:
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
Issues: Anti-LGBT Rulings, Laws and Amendments, Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections, Seniors

On September 25, 2018, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of a 63-year-old lesbian seeking spousal survivor’s benefits based on her relationship with her partner of 27 years, who died in 2006 before same-sex couples in the State of Washington were able to marry. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Helen Thornton in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington argues that SSA’s exclusion of same-sex couples from survivor’s benefits based on their inability to marry is unconstitutional.

If you would have been married to your same-sex partner for at least nine months before their death but were never able to marry because of discriminatory marriage laws where you lived, you may be a member of the Thornton class. Click here for the Thornton FAQ: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/20210218_thornton_faq

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