A group of married gay and lesbian military personnel have sued the federal government in an attempt to obtain the same benefits as married heterosexual military personnel. The lawsuit states that the government’s Defense of Marriage Act violates their constitutional rights and asks the military to recognize their marriages and provide spousal benefits.
Under DOMA, the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages, protecting one state from having to abide by other states’ marriage laws.
The lawsuit contests that the continued denial of benefits to gay and lesbian spouses is a threat to national security. Under DOMA, the military has already recognized that “service members who are distracted by thoughts that their loved ones are not being cared for may render the service members less effective combatants.”
The lawsuit focuses on benefits given to straight married couples, including medical and dental benefits, housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, survivor benefits and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries.
The plaintiffs are confident the government won’t contest the lawsuit, quoting a statement from President Obama about DOMA in which he said, “I believe the law runs counter to the Constitution, and it’s time for it to end, once and for all.”
Photo thanks to s_falkow under creative commons license on Flickr.