Two military groups on Monday jointly filed an amicus brief urging the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down gay marriage bans in two states.

OutServe-SLDN and the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) filed a 29-page friend of the court brief in support of plaintiff couples challenging the constitutionality of bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

The bans were declared invalid in separate cases but both have been appealed to the same appeals court, which has scheduled hearings on the cases in April.

In its brief, the groups assert that such bans hurt same-sex military families.

“The lack of marriage recognition is a strain on these military families, and an unnecessary distraction for service members who all too often find themselves in harm's way while trying to protect this country,” the brief states. “Ending this discrimination by requiring states to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry would protect these families, and best serve the needs of the modern military.”

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over district courts in six states, including Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Of those states, gay couples are allowed to marry only in New Mexico, though Colorado recognizes gay couples with civil unions.

(Read the entire brief.)