Karen Ocamb

SLDN Fights for Equal Benefits for Gay Servicemembers

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 29, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Leon Panetta, SLDN

The day after Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act to secure equal benefits, recognition, and family support for all OutServe-Chief-Warrant-Officer-Charlie-Morgan-of-the-New-Hampshire-National-Guard-and-her-wife-Karen-.jpgmilitary families (read the complaint here), SLDN's Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis issued a statement expressing disappointment in yesterday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense that the DOD has identified 14 benefits as part of an ongoing review of military benefits in connection with the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard and her wife Karen at OutServe conference in Las Vegas (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

"Unfortunately, today's announcement does nothing to move the ball forward on the issue of providing equal benefits, recognition, and family support for legally married gay and lesbian families. The benefits outlined today were, in fact, available even before the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Again, SLDN calls upon Secretary Panetta to confer now all the benefits and recognition he is authorized to extend to gay and lesbian service members and their families under current law," said Sarvis.

As noted in a press release, SLDN sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in August, outlining benefit and family support programs that can be extended under current law without coming into conflict with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or other federal statutes. One of the couples named in SLDN's lawsuit - Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard and her wife Karen - appeared on Thomas Robert's MSNBC show Friday morning.

Video after the break.

(Crossposted at LGBT POV)


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Equality still eludes gay service members. Thanks to DOMA legally married same-sex military spouses are denied health insurance, commissary, housing allowance and other base privileges as compared to their opposite-sex married counterparts. For those interested - http://OUTmilitary.com has been providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters since December, 2010.

Equality still eludes gay service members. Thanks to DOMA legally married same-sex military spouses are denied health insurance, commissary, housing allowance and other base privileges as compared to their opposite-sex married counterparts. For those interested - http://OUTmilitary.com has been providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters since December, 2010.

Ned Flaherty | October 31, 2011 4:09 PM

DOMA causes pay and benefits to be cut up to 40% ($250,000 over a career) for armed forces personnel whose spouse is of the same sex. No other employer (private, non-profit, or government civilian) would dare to attempt such unfairness.