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This Obscure Rule Bars Gay And Lesbian Military Veterans From Benefits

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"This Obscure Rule Bars Gay and Lesbian Military Veterans From Benefits
Despite the death of DOMA, the rule could mean a fight for military veteran couples who want federal benefits.
August 28, 2013

The Supreme Court may have recently struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, seemingly clearing the way for federal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages, but the battle for marriage equality on the federal level rages on—particularly in the military.

According to an August 14, letter from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, obtained by the Washington Blade, gay and lesbian military veteran married couples are not eligible to receive federal marriage benefits because of an obscure government code called “Title 38.”

In the letter, Shinseki writes:

“Certain provisions in title 38, United States Code, define ‘spouse’ and ‘surviving spouse’ to refer only to a person of the opposite-sex. Under these provisions, a same-sex marriage recognized by a State would not confer spousal status for purposes of eligibility of VA benefits. Although the title 38 definition of ‘spouse’ and ‘surviving spouse’ are similar to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provision at issue in United States v. Windsor, no court has yet held the title 38 definitions to be unconstitutional.”

Signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, DOMA barred the federal government from recognizing gay marriages legally performed on a state level. The June Supreme Court ruling that struck down DOMA was supposed to have allowed gay and lesbian couples married legally on the state level to enjoy many of the same federal rights as their married heterosexual counterparts—including being allowed to file jointly on tax returns.

Now Title 38 is standing in the way. And it may not be the only obscure provision out there."

Full article: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/08/28/no-doma-still-big-problems-marriage-equality

Carlie passed away in November 2015 she is missed.

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