Connect with us

Politics

Court affirms gay troops eligible for spousal benefits

Judge rules Pentagon must enroll gay troops, veterans into benefit system

Published

on

National LGBT Bar Association, Gay News, Washington Blade

A district court has affirmed that laws barring spousal benefits from gay troops is unconstitutional (image via wikimedia).

A district court has followed the lead of previous rulings in affirming that laws barring gay troops from accessing spousal benefits are unconstitutional.

In a four-page summary judgment, U.S. Judge Richard Stearns ruled on Wednesday in the lawsuit known as McLaughlin v. Hagel that gay troops plaintiffs in the case are entitled to spousal benefits in the wake of the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Not only the does the decision affirm that spousal benefits must flow to active troops, the ruling states that benefits must flow to gay veterans in same-sex marriages because the portion of Title 38 restricting those benefits to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional.

“The definitions of the terms ‘spouse’ and ‘surviving spouse’ in Sections 101(3) and (31) of the Title 38 of the U.S. Code are unconstitutional under the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment as applied to Plaintiffs by the Department of Veteran Affairs in the administration of veterans’ benefits governed by Title 38 to the extent those definitions are construed to limit the provision of veterans’ benefits to married opposite-sex couples,” the decision states.

The Justice Department had already announced on its own accord that it would no longer enforce Title 38 to bar gay veterans from spousal benefits in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision against DOMA.

Still, plaintiffs pursued the litigation, calling for summary judgment, on the basis that the decision from the Obama administration could be altered under another presidency.

The eight plaintiffs couples represented in the lawsuit may receive retroactive benefits covering a longer period of time than other gay troops. The court rulings say they’re entitled to benefits from the time they tried to enroll into DEERS in late 2011. Other gay troops as the result of the DOMA decision are eligible for benefits back until the Supreme Court ruling in June of this year.

In a joint statement, Christopher Man and Abbe Lowell, private attorneys with Chadbourne & Parke LLP who litigated the case on behalf of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said the ruling ensures their clients receive benefits they would have obtained in opposite-sex marriages.

“With this order, our clients and we have been able to complete the goal of invalidating those laws that discriminated against loyal and brave soldiers and their families on the basis of the gender of their spouses,” Man and Lowell said. “We are proud to have been part of the effort to end this practice and of our clients for making the fight.”

The case is significant because it was the first in which House Republicans they would no longer work to defend DOMA in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision against the anti-gay law.

John Gillespie, board co-chair OutServe/SLDN, praised the court for making a ruling he said would end discrimination.

“We sought a judgment that would end the unconstitutional discrimination these service members and their families faced,” Gillespie said. “Each of them paid a price for their service, and this judgment begins to right the many years of discrimination. Most importantly, this decision validates the service and sacrifice of all military family members. It guarantees the nation will recognize their contributions and provide the benefits they have earned.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Larry Patrick Conkright Ripley

    October 3, 2013 at 6:15 am

    its about effing time! Oh hey bigoted pig Governor in Oklahoma who refused to speak to me about this very issue! Guess what love….your friggin stupid bigoted state is next on the list! See ya there and I take my coffee black dear.

  2. Michael Bedwell

    October 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    With respect, you're leaving out these key facts: 1. That the Obama Administration was fighting AGAINST this lawsuit which they NEVER should have done in the first place. 2. That they continued to even after a California judge ruled in a parallel case this past February that, contrary to the Administration's claim, the court DID have jurisdiction, AND even AFTER the Republicans abandoned their opposition to both lawsuits. 3. That the Administration's announcement that they would no longer enforce Title 38 only came AFTER the judge in the CA case ruled in favor of those plaintiffs. Bottom line: Regardless of his self-anointment as our "fierce advocate," when it comes to gays in the military time and again Mr. Obama has only done the right thing after being FORCED to by the courts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire host says 2 men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies

” […] because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.”

Published

on

Screenshot of Matt Walsh via YouTube (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and YouTuber Matt Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten had adopted two children.

On his show Monday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether.

It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company – it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? You are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept.”

I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t change the point here.”

Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.

Continue Reading

Politics

Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

Published

on

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

Continue Reading

National

Biden recognizes National Coming Out Day as time to honor LGBTQ people

White House statement denounces ‘bullying and harassment’

Published

on

President Biden recognized Oct. 11 as National Coming Out Day in a statement on Monday calling the occasion a time to celebrate the “courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self.”

Biden ticked off in the statement the achievements on LGBTQ policy, including signing an executive order on his first day in his office ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the furthest extent possible.

“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures,” Biden said. “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on National Coming Out Day

Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. I am proud to lead an Administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government — and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination, to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my Administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular