The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act, introduced into the Senate on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 would fix a loophole in the current Copyright Act. Concurrent with the bill’s introduction, Senator Leahy also published an op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter, giving some background on the bill:
Surprisingly, the Copyright Act, which protects our nation’s diverse creative voices, bears vestiges of discrimination. A provision in the act grants rights to surviving spouses of copyright owners only if the marriage is recognized in the owner’s state of residence at the time he or she dies. This means a writer who lawfully marries his or her same-sex partner in Vermont or California is not a “spouse” under the Copyright Act if they move to Florida, Georgia or one of the other states that do not recognize marriage equality.
Congress should close this discriminatory loophole to ensure our federal statutes live up to our nation’s promise of equality under the law. Following the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, and more recent progress for marriage equality in states throughout the country, it is wrong for the federal government to deny benefits or privileges to same- sex couples who have lawfully wed.