A new study shows the negative impact
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents the military from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay troops, has on gay service
members and their families.
to the report, titled Collateral Damage: How the Defense of
Marriage Act Harms the Troops and Undermines the U.S. Military and
jointly released by the Center for American Progress and
OutServe-SLDN, gay troops are denied nearly 100 benefits because of
“The Defense of Marriage Act was
enacted before same-sex marriage was legal anywhere in the United
States,” Katie Miller, author of the report, said in a press
release. “Now that nine states have broken down that barrier, it
is time that the integrity of all marriages is defended by federal
law. No man or woman who dedicates their life to the protection of
our country should have to worry about their families being cared for
in their absence. Creating two classes of service members is no way
to treat our troops and no way to run our military.”
An example given is that of Capt.
Matthew Phelps, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Phelps may
expect to receive about $20,000 less in benefits and allowances than
other married servicemen that he serves beside during an anticipated
tour of Okinawa, Japan.
DOMA prevents the military from
extending housing and moving benefits, health insurance, and
employment assistance to the spouses of gay troops.
“As much as military leaders at all
levels may wish to treat the troops under their command with equity,
they are forced by federal law to discriminate,” said Allyson D.
Robinson, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which represents LGBT
service members. “As a result, gay and lesbian service members are
denied access to critical benefits and meaningful support programs
the services provides to help families face the unique challenges of
military life. This denial weakens the force itself.”