Thursday, October 27, 2011

Military families mount legal challenge to DOMA

From the WaPo:
Gay and lesbian troops and veterans plan to file suit Thursday challenging the constitutionality of the federal ban on gay marriage and federal policy that defines a spouse as a person of the opposite sex....

The suit also challenges provisions of federal code regarding spouses that lawyers said bar gay couples from accessing a range of benefits provided by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs, including military identification cards, access to bases, recreational programs, spousal support groups and burial rights at national cemeteries.

Massachusetts Army National Guard Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, 41, and her wife, Casey, 34, are serving as lead plaintiffs in the suit, which also includes five other troops and two career Army and Navy veterans. ...

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said Wednesday that officials are “engaged in a careful and deliberate review” of whether some benefits could be extended to same-sex partners.

“Service members continue to have some benefits for which they may designate beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation,” Lainez said in an e-mail. But eligibility for other benefits is restricted by DOMA, she said.

At Veterans Affairs, spokesman Josh Taylor said department lawyers plan to review the case once it is filed.
Once DADT finally fell (and there wasn't much noise when it finally went), it made the repeal of DOMA inevitable. You cannot expect someone to risk their life for the country while refusing support to their families.

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