Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gay Servicemembers File Suit Challenging DOMA; Seek Same Benefits Given to Heterosexual Couples

The Slate website reports that a group of gay and lesbian servicemembers and veterans are filing a lawsuit today (October 27, 2011), challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- the federal law that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

The group will argue that DOMA prevents spouses of gay and lesbian servicemembers from receiving the same benefits heterosexual military couples are granted -- including military ID cards, access to bases, and burial rights at national cemeteries.

The lead plaintiff in the case will be Army National Guard Maj. Shannon McLaughlin -- along with her wife, Casey McLaughlin -- who together have 10-month-old twins.

Aubrey Sarvis -- executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and an organizer of the suit -- said that the couple is seeking "the same treatment that their straight counterparts, who are legally married, receive every day without question and take for granted."

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