Bill Passed to Support and Recognize Marriage for Lesbian and Gay Service Members

Major Shannon McLaughlin and her wife Casey, lead plaintiffs in SLDN’s landmark case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Image via SLDN’s Facebook.

Today, the United States military has passed a bill recognizing marriage for lesbian and gay service members called the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012. Previously, spouses of lesbian and gay military personnel weren’t recognized by the law and therefore, weren’t given the benefits that straight spouses were given. According to Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, “Our nation’s senior military leaders and commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support and benefits for our nation’s service members – one for straight service members and a different one for their gay and lesbian peers. There cannot be two classes of service members, and this legislation addresses that effectively.” For that reason, this bill is a significant step closer to a future with equality for all service members.

Find out more after the jump…

Here is an excerpt from the bill that spells out the circumstances of this legislation: “An individual shall be considered a ‘spouse’ if the marriage of the individual is valid in the State in which the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place in which the marriage was entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.” Now, SLDN are promoting another bill that allows all married same-sex couples, regardless of which state they married in, to have the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. For this, the military would have to disregard the federal government policy and abide by their own regulations. [SLDN]

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