A new campaign launched on Wednesday
focuses on the harm caused to gay military families by the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA).
to Serve, Freedom to Marry campaign is being launched by
Freedom to Marry, the nation's largest gay marriage advocate, and
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which lobbies on behalf
of LGBT troops and their families.
Because DOMA outlaws federal agencies,
including the military, from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
and lesbian couples, gay troops are not treated the same as their
“Many people assume that, with the
repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' gay men and lesbians serving our
country are now being treated fairly and equally, but that's not the
case,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to
Marry. “We ended the ban on open military service for gay and
lesbian Americans, but there is still a federal ban on treating
married service members as what they are: married. The so-called
Defense of Marriage Act's 'gay exception' keeps the government in the
business of discriminating against families, such as those of service
members, and burdening employers, such as the military, who are
prevented from treating their employees fairly and equally.”
DOMA denies the families of these
troops health insurance, survivor benefits and access to military
bases and housing.
The campaign includes an online
petition calling on Congress to “end this discriminatory and
unequal treatment of our service members and veterans by repealing
SLDN last year filed a lawsuit on
behalf of eight married gay service members and veterans challenging
the constitutionality of DOMA as it relates to military families.
“The faces and stories of military
families impacted by the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act
illustrate the unjust ways this law treats our nation's most
courageous patriots,” said SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
“It's unconscionable that we would ask American citizens to put
their lives on the line for us in war zones while treating them and
their families as second-class citizens at home.”
(A promotional video from the campaign
is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)