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HRC Statement on Service Member Legal Challenge to DOMA

Lesbian and Gay Service Members do not Receive Equal Benefits for Equal Work

10/27/2011

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – applauds the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Chadbourne & Parke LLP for 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.  The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and contests the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing the lawful marriages of lesbian and gay Americans.

“Despite putting their lives on the line to ensure our nation’s security, lesbian and gay service members do not receive equal benefits for equal work,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Today’s legal action shines a light on the difficulties that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act creates for lesbian and gay military families.  HRC applauds the bravery of these service members and thanks Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Chadbourne & Parke LLP for making sure they will get their day in court.”

The plaintiffs in this challenge seek the same recognition, family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the military has provided and currently provides to opposite-sex spouses of current and former service members. Such benefits include medical and dental benefits, basic housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, family separation benefits, military ID cards, visitation rights in military hospitals, survivor benefits, and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries. 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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