With “Don't Ask, Don't Tell”
relegated to the dustbin of history, the largest group representing
gay troops is gunning for gay marriage.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN) plans to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the
constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as it relates
to gay and lesbian service members.
Since 1996, federal agencies and the
military have been barred from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
couples because of DOMA, which defines marriage as a heterosexual
SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis
Huffington Post that his group will argue that DOMA violates
gay military couples' Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Last month, the Pentagon issued a memo
stating that chaplains may officiate over the weddings of gay couples
in states where it's legal. But DOMA makes gay couples ineligible
for the same benefits as their straight counterparts. Benefits such
as housing allowances and health care coverage are denied to the
spouses of gay service members.
McKeon: Military chaplains being “forced” to officiate gay
“There is a huge disparity between
gay and straight service members who are providing equal service,
taking equal risks, making equal sacrifices,” Sarvis said. “This
inequity should not and cannot stand.”
A bill that would repeal DOMA is
expected to clear
a Senate panel next month, but the issue is a non-starter in the