Lambda Legal Sues On Behalf Of Veteran Same-Sex Spouses

BTL Staff

WASHINGTON D.C. - Lambda Legal and Morrison Foerster LLP have filed suit against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) arguing that the denial of benefits to same-sex spouses of veterans living in states that refuse to recognize their marriages is in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"Gay and lesbian veterans have served their country and risked the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their duty to this nation," Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal said. "Married veterans and their spouses, wherever they live, need critical veterans benefits, earned through years of often perilous service, to take care of their families. No member of our community should be left behind just because their home state continues to discriminate against their marriage."

AMPA, the petitioner of the case, is an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting partners and spouses of LGBT troops and veterans. The petition was filed Aug. 18 and argues that the SCOTUS decision in United States v. Windsor striking down section 3 of DOMA specifically flagged as unconstitutional the deprivation of veterans benefits to same-sex spouses.

The VA should not rely on discriminatory state marriage bans that have been declared unconstitutional by federal courts far and wide throughout the country as the basis to deny these spousal benefits now. The petition further states, "Having weathered the federal government's past, longstanding discrimination against them, lesbian and gay veterans and their families find themselves once again deprived of equal rights and earned benefits by the government they served and the nation for which they sacrificed."

Those with questions or concerns about discrimination or denial of a protection to which they are entitled should contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk at 866-542-8336 or visit URL {www.lambdalegal.org/help.}
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