Lambda Legal and Legal Services NYC Issue FAQ on the Marriage Equality Act for Low-Income New Yorkers

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October 5, 2011

(New York, October 5, 2011) - Today, Lambda Legal and Legal Services NYC (LS-NYC) released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide entitled New York State Marriage Equality Act: Frequently Asked Questions for Couples and Families with Low or No Income for same-sex couples who are or plan to get married in New York. This series of factsheets explains how marriage equality may impact immigration status, parent-child relationships, public assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, housing, consumer issues, Social Security benefits, and New York state income taxes. Lambda Legal and LS-NYC are hosting a community training on these issues on Thursday, October 13 at 9:30AM (at LS-NYC, 40 Worth Street, NYC).

"Our community is still celebrating full marriage equality in New York, but while we celebrate, we also want to make sure that our hard work reaches everyone in our community - regardless of income level or immigration status. People should also be aware that the new marriage law may have serious implications for low-income same-sex couples and immigrants," said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney. "Because federal law and many states still do not recognize marriages of same-sex couples or provide the benefits of marriage, the social safety net that marriage provides can become a web of confusion for some low-income same-sex couples and their families. It is critical that all same-sex couples evaluate how their benefits and protections could be impacted by getting married."

"The information Lambda Legal and LS-NYC present here is a valuable resource for low-income LGBT couples who have questions related to the impact marriage may have on a person's eligibility for specific programs. Already, we have received dozens of calls from same-sex couples who are concerned about how the income of one spouse may impact the eligibility of the other spouse who currently receives public assistance," said Richard Saenz, staff attorney and coordinator of the Queens Legal Services HIV Advocacy Project. "We are pleased to launch this partnership in conjunction with an education program and advocate trainings so that we can reach as broad a community as possible including community members, government agencies and community based organizations."

The factsheets are available at

For more information or for legal assistance, contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk at 1-866-542-8336 or visit, or contact LS-NYC at 646-442-3600 or visit



Contact Info

Contact: Jonathan Adams 212-809-8585 ext 267; [email protected]

Legal Services NYC Contacts:
Richard Saenz, Esq., Staff Attorney, Queens Legal Services, 347-592-2207; [email protected]
Dan Pepitone, Esq., Staff Attorney, Manhattan Legal Services, 646-442-3144; [email protected]
Edwina Frances Martin, Esq., Director of Communications and Government Relations, Legal Services NYC, (646) 442-3586; [email protected]

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Legal Services NYC is the nation's largest organization devoted exclusively to providing free civil legal services to the poor. For more information regarding Legal Services NYC please visit