American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Military Officials & Servicemembers to Urge an End to DOMA

Military officials, servicemembers, and advocacy groups who filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor v. United States will hold a press conference call on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the harms of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the nation’s military. Thirty military and defense officials and Outserve-SLDN filed two briefs in the case, which is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 27. The call will include brief remarks and Q&A with Former Congressman and former U.S. Navy Three-Star Admiral Joe Sestak; Former Congressman, Army Captain and Iraq War Veteran Patrick Murphy; Outserve-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson; and Staff Sgt. Tracy Johnson, who is not considered a war widow despite her wife’s death in Afghanistan.

Although the military has worked to make progress toward equality – namely through former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recent extension of certain benefits to same-sex couples and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – DOMA prevents the military from treating gay and lesbian military couples equally. Because DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as “between one man and one woman,” same-sex military couples cannot qualify for many protections available to other couples, including health care, housing assistance, primary next of kin status, and survivor’s benefits.

Outserve-SLDN and the Center for American Progress (CAP) have jointly authored a report about the ways in which DOMA discriminates against gay and lesbian military couples, called, “Collateral Damage: How the Defense of Marriage Act Harms the Troops and Undermines the U.S. Military.

Topics: Blog, Evidence