HRC Blog

Service Members Legal Challenge to DOMA

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Chadbourne & Parke LLP are filing a federal lawsuit today on behalf of several current and former active duty lesbian and gay service members challenging the denial of equal military family benefits. Despite implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still prevents same-sex couples in the military from getting important benefits that their straight colleagues receive.

Benefits impacted by DOMA include military family housing, access to legal services, spousal relocation support, medical and dental benefits, military ID cards, visitation rights in military hospitals, survivor benefits and the right to be buried together in military cemetaries. The plantiffs in the case are seeking the same recognition, family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the military already provides to opposite-sex spouses of both current and former service members.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The Respect for Marriage Act – which has received bipartisan support – would repeal DOMA and ensure all married couples receive the full benefits of marriage under federal law. Learn more.

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