Yesterday, the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee shamefully rejected two amendments aimed at helping LGBT veterans and their families.  

Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) offered the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, which would correct outdated language in statute that defines “spouse” as a person “of the opposite sex” and would ensure that all veterans are receiving the spousal benefits that they have earned and deserve.

Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) offered an amendment that would add LGBT veterans to the representation on the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.  This amendment would take a critical step in ensuring in statute that the voices of LGBT veterans are consistently heard and ensure the LGBT community is represented when addressing the issues that affect minority veterans.

Unfortunately, neither amendment won enough support to be adopted.  The votes came down mostly along party lines, although Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Ryan Costello (R-PA) voted in favor of the Titus amendment.  Representative Corrine Brown (D-FL) voted “present” on both amendments, citing political concerns for the underlying bill.

HRC is incredibly disappointed that a majority of this committee decided to deny LGBT veterans and their families the peace of mind of knowing that the law guarantees them the support that they have earned.  These veterans have dedicated their careers and risked their lives for this nation.  Our government should honor their sacrifice.

We thank Reps. Titus and Takano for their strong leadership in supporting LGBT veterans and their families, and we will continue to work with them to pass these important protections.

Filed under: Federal Advocacy, Community

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