Gay And Lesbian Service Members Sue Government

By: AP
By: AP

BOSTON (AP) -- A group of gay active and retired military personnel who are married sued the federal government Thursday for the same benefits as straight military couples, arguing it's a matter of justice and national security.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston says the government's Defense of Marriage Act violates their constitutional rights and asks the military to recognize their marriages and provide spousal benefits.

Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages, which are legal in six states and Washington D.C. and were legal for a time in California.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which filed the suit on behalf of eight service members, said it's about "one thing, plain and simple."

"It's about justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad," Sarvis said in a press release.

The suit also says the continued denial of benefits to gay spouses "Is a threat to national security." It argues that given the extreme mental and physical demands of modern warfare, the military has already recognized that "service members who are distracted by thoughts that their loved ones are not being cared for may render the service members less effective combatants."

The lawsuit names as defendants Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. It comes about a month after the military officially ended its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which forbade gays from serving openly.

The plaintiffs say they don't believe the government will contest the suit, quoting an Oct. 1 statement from President Obama about DOMA in which he said, "I believe the law runs counter to the Constitution, and it's time for it to end, once and for all."

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said officials will evaluate the complaint and consult with the Justice Department, while continuing to follow the law. Kirby noted that service members can already designate some benefits to anyone they choose, regardless of sexual orientation.

"In connection with `Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal, the Defense Department is engaged in a careful and deliberate review of the possibility of extending eligibility for benefits, when legally permitted, to other individuals including same-sex partners," Kirby said.

The suit lists various benefits given to straight married couples they say gays are being wrongly denied, including medical and dental benefits, housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, survivor benefits and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries.

"While the repeal of (don't ask, don't tell) was an important first step in the military's march for equality, it is time to take the next step and provide equal benefits for equal work," the suit says.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, a judge advocate general in the Massachusetts National Guard who married her wife in Massachusetts in 2009 and has 10-month old twins, according to the suit.

Another plaintiff is Navy Lt. Gary Ross, an Arizona resident who was married in Vermont, but whose husband travels to Mexico for health care-- and was recently at the border when gunfire broke out -- because they can't afford health insurance for him, according to the suit.

Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard said she has cancer and is worried her spouse and their daughter would be unable to receive survivor's benefits if she died.

"We are only asking for equitable treatment as a recognized family," Morgan said.

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  • by Laughing hard! on Oct 29, 2011 at 05:58 PM
    You people are just making life harder for yourselves. You chose to sign on that dotted line knowing you should keep your big pie holes zipped (with your big secret) now you want compensation for it. No wonder no one can stand what you believe in or stand for.
  • by K on Oct 29, 2011 at 05:38 PM
    Looks to me like eddie and brian need to make a coffee date....You both are making total fools out of yourselves. One likes it, the other doesn't, and here you both sit, cramming your opinions down peoples throats.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 29, 2011 at 09:32 PM in reply to K
      More like Eddie. Standing strong for what is right is not making a fool out of myself. Eddie just doesn't get it, and most likely never will. He has obviously been totally brainwashed:(
  • by Oblivious Location: Purple City on Oct 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    you people are funny. tell me again what you are forcing down the throat of homosexuals? maybe they like it like that.
  • by David Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan on Oct 29, 2011 at 01:38 AM
    So what? I'm PRESENTLY in Afghanistan. Stop using your service to make a point, because it's unprofessional. Some of those people who died, and are dying to today over here, are gay. And you think it's right to tell them they shouldn't be allowed to serve, or they can't be married to the person THEY want to be with? THAT'S pretty low, and that's YOU forcing it down THEIR throats. And if people aren't posting over religion, you could have fooled me. How many of these posts either quote the bible or mention god? So, no... no foot in this mouth.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 29, 2011 at 09:09 AM in reply to David
      No, that is NOT unprofessional. What the homosexuals are trying to do is what is unprofessional. If you think there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, you are part of the problem:( I have the moral courage to stand up for what is right, regardless of how many ppl tell me I am wrong, closed-minded, bigoted, etc. Sorry, but I choose the hard right over the easy wrong. It would be too easy to go with the status quo, but I refuse to cower to the libtards! I stand strong for what I believe in, and nothing will ever change that. Just hoping we elect a CIC next year that will stand up and right the wrongs of the current one and turn this country back to her great roots, and up out of the moral toilet. Homosexuality has always been, and will alway be immoral and has no place in the military. Like some of the other posts have said, they knew what the terms were when they joined, so now they have to deal with it and not expect us to pander to their demands. Them thinking they can force the rest of the military to cowtow to them is what is LOW:(
      • reply
        by David on Oct 29, 2011 at 08:01 PM in reply to Brian
        So you want to push your views of morality (wonder where those came from?) onto others. Someone can die for their country, but they can't be gay and do the same? And what morality in this country? We've been dealing with rampant infidelity, corruption from big business, child abuse, spouse abuse, murders, racism, and countless other problems. Yet, you want to put a bullseye on how someone else lives? Funny how we wage a staged war with Iraq (though I blame Tenet more than Bush for that), tens of thousands of lives are needlessly lost, families decimated, and Soldiers lives ruined through injury and PTSD... yet you can't let go of what someone does with another person. Great roots? Really? When? Was this before or after the genocide of the Native Americans, enslavement of African Americans, or killing in the name of "insert cause". And did you just say "libtards"? A bit childish, yes? It's a sick society we live in when people think murder is fine and dandy, but someone's sex life is something we should intrude on. That's one twisted set of priorities.
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 29, 2011 at 09:41 PM in reply to David
          David, you truly don't get it, and I feel sorry for you being so out of touch with reality:( The reason we have all those things you mentioned is bc ppl like you think there is nothing wrong with such things as homosexuality, abortion on demand, etc. Not to mention how God is being pushed out of everything:( Btw, just bc there is other imorality going on doesn't make homosexuality any more right. It really amazes me how ppl go to such lengths to justify homosexuality:( Staged war????? I think you need to talk to a shrink, bc you are obviously not with it man. I have 22 months of combat time in Iraq. Sorry if you are offended by Libtards, but I don't sugarcoat and tell it like it is. It is the truth, whether you accept it or not!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:46 PM
    If you want a Theocracy, go join the Taliban. You'd probably fit right in. They just go ahead and execute homosexuals and nonbelievers right on the spot instead of complaining on a message boards about how people don't follow THEIR religion. Follow the advice of our Founding Fathers. Keep your religion at home, where it belongs.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 07:10 PM in reply to
      Sorry, but I have honorably served against the Taliban. Pretty low of you to compare me to the Taliban. Ppl aren't posting bc of the homosexuals not following our "religion", but bc they think they have the right to flaunt it, shove it down the military's throat, forcefeed it to our children in schools, etc. Go ahead and open mouth, insert foot lmao
  • by Steve on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:02 AM
    Clearly, some people are willing to force their own religion upon others, but that doesn't make it right. In the USA, we have "freedom of religion". That means, I get to decide for myself what I believe, and you get to decide what you believe. I value my freedom to choose my own religion. But, if that freedom is to have any meaning, you must also be free to choose yours. The moment I use the law to force you to obey my religion, you have lost your freedom, and so have I. Turn that around. It has to work both ways. You get to decide for yourself what you believe, and gay people get to decide what they believe. You value your freedom to choose your own religion. But, if that freedom is to have any meaning, gay people must also be free to choose theirs. The moment you use the law to force gay people to obey your religion, you have taken away their freedom of religion. And, you have lost your own. The supreme court has said, several times, that the right to marriage is a fundamental right. And, that the right to marriage means, the right to marry the person of ones own choosing. If that right is to have any meaning, everyone must have it. If anyone does not have that right, then no one really does. Some people believe that marriage should be controlled by religion. If that is so, then each religion should be free to marry whatever couples it chooses. If any church or religion does not have that right, then no church really does.
    • reply
      by Eddie on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:14 AM in reply to Steve
      Sane people do exist! My hope in humanity is slightly restored. I have had this debate with many folks always spotting biblical scripture and how God is the only one who can make marriage. But they are dumbfounded when I toss Druids, Wicken, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and agnostics into the debate.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:26 AM in reply to Steve
      Since when was being gay a religion???? Stop trying to use the Constitution to justify a sick and abhorent behavior. You could try and use that arguement for just abt anything. Next thing will be Satanists saying that they have a constitutional right to human sacrifice. Your arguement is just as silly. I really feel sorry for those of you that have been brainwashed by the libs that homosexuality is not wrong, but it IS. Aside from religion, is it sick, abnormal, and damaging to kids raised in that environment. Stop trying to justify what cannot be justified!
      • reply
        by Eddie on Oct 28, 2011 at 09:28 AM in reply to Brian
        Brian, I know this is a tough concept to grasp, But you are using your religion and your beliefs as a filter and a gauge to determine what is moral, right, and acceptable. And while you are entitled to your beliefs, they cannot be used as a golden rule. I can find you plenty of homosexuals who attend church, believe in God, and set a better example of being a Christian then you are doing right now. What they choose to do in the privacy of their home and their life is none of your concern. It is between them, and their God.
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM in reply to Eddie
          Eddie, do you even think b4 hitting keys?? Sorry, but if they truly believed in God, they would change their sinful ways. It is really amazing you can come up with such utter bs to TRY to justify your agenda. Sorry, you might as well stop accusing me of using my religion as a filter. I have the same beliefs as this country was founded on, not just my religion. Besides, I have never said anything abt what they do in their homes, but what they are trying to force of those of us servicemembers who are moral to put up with them flaunting their abnormal behavior. You see, I have the moral courage to stand up for what is right. You, on the other hand, believe what has been spoonfed to you by the liberal propagandists. I pray that God will open your eyes someday to the truth!
        • reply
          by Eddie on Oct 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM in reply to Eddie
          You claim to have the same beliefs as the founding fathers, That would be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, But what you continually spout out is oppression of behavior that is contrary to your morals...that's not liberty, and it represses their right to a happy life as they choose to live it.
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:51 PM in reply to Eddie
          Eddie, you really need to get in touch with reality. It is the homosexuals that are quilty of oppression, since they seem to think they can silence anything against them. IE-Trying to make it a hate speech crime for a pastor to preach against homosexuality. Just look at how they acted after proposition 8 was voted into law:(
      • reply
        by Jim on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:24 PM in reply to Brian
        Damaging to kids? Please list your sources. I've known tons of kids damaged in heterosexual households, and tons of kids undamaged in homosexual ones.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:42 PM in reply to Jim
          Just the other day, I was reading abt a young boy who wants to be a girl. Doesn't help that he is being raised by two lesbians.
  • by Wes on Oct 27, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Wow obviously the people that decided to volunteer (meaning noone made them) knowing the policies decided they should be excluded from them even though everyone serving has to abide by them to the "T". Here's a little advice. Don't volunteer to serve when you know you do not agree with the policies of the organization you are joining. I dont smoke weed or do other illegal drugs because I know that the policy states that I can't. Hey what a idea maybe I should sue the government for not letting me shoot heroine while at work. Oh real fast, whatever you lifestyle choice I have one real quick question. What is the #1 reason for sex? Oh reproduction? Any know if 2 males interacting sexually can reproduce or females for that part? In conclusion, I don't care if your gay, but for goodness sake quit trying to push it on everyone else. I'm so tired of your "special" treatment, your not asking for equal your are asking for special in everything the GLAD community seeks. I need special protection for people who beat me down yet if it were a heterosexual that got beat down its not a hate crime. Should of never repealed don't ask don't tell all it did was create a door for this kind of bull.
    • reply
      by Eddie on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:15 AM in reply to Wes
      [quote]What is the #1 reason for sex? Oh reproduction?[/quote] I feel sorry for you. I could come up with a handful of other reasons without even spilling my coffee
      • reply
        by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM in reply to Eddie
        Eddie, it is disallusioned ppl like you are who have turned sex into perversion instead of how God designed it:(
        • reply
          by Lis on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:36 PM in reply to Brian
          Brian, have you read Song of Solomon? Because that is nothing to do with reproduction and everything to do with pleasure and love. "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth." Song of Solomon, 3. 1
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:53 PM in reply to Brian
          But Lis, notice it doesn't say homosexual pleasure and love. You should really know what you are talking abt b4 trying to twist the Bible into saying homosexuality is ok:(
    • reply
      by Brian. on Oct 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM in reply to Wes
      Very well said Wes! I am glad there is others on here not afraid to stand up for what is right:)
    • reply
      by Jim H on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:16 PM in reply to Wes
      If the main reason for sex is reproduction, then you'd agree that 1) the majority of sex should result in pregnancy and 2) birth control would be unnatural and therefore immoral?
    • reply
      by JIm on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:26 PM in reply to Wes
      Untrue - hate crimes are based on sexual orientation, INCLUDING heterosexuality. But note: you have to be beat down strictly for existing as a heterosexual, not because you are a complete jerk :)
  • by thomas Location: cs on Oct 27, 2011 at 06:01 PM
    I should have known the Christian Bigot Brigade would show up here.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:44 PM in reply to thomas
      Should have known the homosexual shove it down your throat Brigade would rear it's ugly head. Is all you know how to type Thomas? Maybe you should come up with a new comment to post lol.
      • reply
        by Jim on Oct 31, 2011 at 08:37 AM in reply to Brian
        Come now, Brian. Your fake Christianity is coming out when you use such language. "shove it down your throat"? Could you be any more graphic?
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 31, 2011 at 02:33 PM in reply to Jim
          Get real Jim-such language????? I was not using profanity or anything like that. If I was a fake, I wouldn't go to such lengths to defend what is right and moral. I am guessing you are anti-Christian and just TRYING to discredit me. Thanks for the good laugh-I needed it:)
  • by itwillrepeal Location: Colorado Springs on Oct 27, 2011 at 05:58 PM
    Obama has already stated that the new law is unconstitutional.
    • reply
      by Brian on Oct 27, 2011 at 07:33 PM in reply to itwillrepeal
      Number one, it is not new. Number two, him holding the office of president is unconstitional, as well as many of his policies ie:Obamacare:(
      • reply
        by Chris on Oct 27, 2011 at 08:05 PM in reply to Brian
        @Brian, #1 you are a tool, #2 please kill yourself
      • reply
        by Jim H on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:22 PM in reply to Brian
        Oh are a birther? You really don't believe President Obama is a U.S. citizen?
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:47 PM in reply to Jim H
          Of course I don't. Numerous document experts have already proved his "birth certificate" to be a fake. Why else would Hawaii not comply with the subpoena for the original??? Why would he have not produced it in the first place it it actually existed? Why has he gone to great lengths to hide records pertaining to his citizenship?? He is usurping the office of POTUS and was usurping the office of Senator. I am waiting to see the shocking news that Sheriff Joe's investigation will reveal.
        • reply
          by Jim H on Oct 31, 2011 at 08:39 AM in reply to Jim H
          Brian, come on. If Trump, with millions of dollars at his disposal found nothing...nor did anyone else, what makes you think Sheriff Joe will find anything? Good grief.
        • reply
          by Brian on Oct 31, 2011 at 02:26 PM in reply to Jim H
          Wrong there Jim- From what I have read, they have already found stuff, just not revealing it yet. If he had an actual bc, why didn't he produce it right away. Why is the state of HI not complying with the subpoena???? Defiantely something fishy there.
  • by Walking away from the stones on Oct 27, 2011 at 04:58 PM
    Wow - harsh judgments. You all are forgetting John 8:7. Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Unless any one of you is perfect and without sin, put down your stones. I'm not gay nor perfect by any means. Also, healthcare is unaffordable without insurance unless you are a millionaire. Have you ever looked at an explanation of benefits after a hospital stay or cancer treatment?
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