Gay and lesbian service members and veterans are expected to file a lawsuit Thursday challenging the constitutionality of the federal ban on gay marriage and a federal policy that defines a spouse as a person of the opposite sex, the Washington Post reports.
The gay and lesbian military service members and veterans argue that their spouses are being unfairly denied benefits due to the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act. The suit is to be filed in federal court in Boston and comes just five weeks after the repeal of the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
While gays and lesbians can now serve openly in the military, their spouses are denied a series of benefits that heterosexual couples receive, such as health benefits, military identification cards, spousal support groups, access to military recreation facilities and burial in a military cemetery.
Shannon McLaughlin, a Major in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, and her wife Casey are the lead plaintiffs in the suit, which also includes seven other service members of veterans, says the Washington Post.
The McLaughlins, who have twins, pay for their children’s health care through military benefits. Shannon’s wife Casey, who gave birth to the twins, has to pay separately for her own health care.
“What Shannon and Casey are seeking is the same treatment that their straight counterparts, who are legally married, receive every day without question and take for granted,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, told the Washington Post.
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