Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos, has introduced a bill that would end a policy denying Social Security benefits to same-sex couples.

In a statement, Sanchez said it is time for government to stop telling gay and lesbian couples that they are "second class citizens."

"Same-sex couples pay into Social Security over the course of their working lives just like other Americans," said Sanchez. "They should receive the full benefits they have earned. My bill will make sure every American receives a benefit based upon their contribution to Social Security, not their sexual orientation."

The Social Security Equality Act of 2013 would require the Social Security Administration to give spousal, survivor and death benefits to same-sex couples whose relationships have been recognized by the state where they live.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages, and six other states recognize civil unions.

"Despite the recent Supreme Court decisions that struck down (the Defense of Marriage Act) and reaffirmed marriage equality in California, millions of LGBT Americans still live in states where they do not have equal access to federal benefits," said Lorri L. Jean, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center chief executive officer.

"The Social Security Equality Act will help many older LGBT Americans live their lives with dignity and respect that all older citizens of our country deserve."

--Eric Bradley