In 2004, former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.), the first openly gay member of Congress, married his partner Dean Hara when same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

Studds died earlier this month, several days after he collapsed while walking his dog.

Last week, Hara was informed officially that he was ineligible to receive one iota of Studds’ $114,337 annual pension because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions.

For those out of the loop, federal law also bars people convicted of espionage or treason from receiving marriage death benefits as well.

The Eye has always understood that being gay had the patina of the subversive in that cool, maddeningly attractive way— not the kind that gets somebody a last cigarette before being shot at daybreak.

Studds was elected to Congress in 1972 and, in 1983, was exposed along with Rep. Dan Crane (R-Ill.) in a 1983 Congressional page scandal.

Studds’ homosexuality became public when a then 27-year-old man came forward and said he and Studds had a sexual relationship in 1973 when the man was a 17-year-old page.

The Eye would like to point out that at the time, 17 was the legal age of consent and the relationship between the two men was consensual.

The affair took place a mere six years after 1967’s “Summer of Love” and 1969’s Stonewall riots — both seminal moments in the nation’s cultural zeitgeist — amid the euphoria and lack of inhibitions that characterized the 1970s before the arrival of HIV/AIDS.

Crane, who dallied with a 17-year-old female page, and Studds were censured by the Congress in a procedure led by Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

In his address to the House, Studds said, “It is not a simple task for any of us to meet adequately the obligations of either public or private life, let alone both, but these challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as I am, both an elected public official and gay.”

You said it, sister.

Studds was re-elected and Crane was sent back to dentistry.

The Washington Post reported that Studds’ homosexuality was “apparently not news to many of his constituents” and he continued to serve in Congress until his 1997 retirement.

Peter Graves, of the U.S. Office for Personnel Management, referring to Hara’s predicament, told the New York Times, “Our office could not think of a similar situation having occurred.”

For real?!!!!

Gary Busek, of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said the Studds’ matter was a wake-up call for the U.S. Congress and the nation.

Busek told the AP, “Now they have a death in the congressional family of one of their distinguished members whose spouse is being treated differently than any of their spouses.”

Graves said that Studds could’ve made arrangements for an insurable interest annuity for survivor’s benefits that would not have been subject to the DOMA.

Oh, okay, The Eye gets it. This is all Studds’ fault.

Give me a break. Lotsa straight people die unexpectedly every day having failed to plan adequately for the dissemination of their respective estates.

You don’t see their families getting screwed by the law.

And that’s all The Eye has to say about it.

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