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White House Clarifies What Laws Apply to Married Same Sex Couples

Friday, June 20th, 2014

White HouseThe White House has finished a year-long study of the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decisions for marriage equality on the Federal Government.

The bad news? Some benefits will not be available to couples who move to states that don’t recognize their marriages.

The Washington Blade reports:

…the administration will announce federal laws that look to the state of residence instead of the state of celebration to determine whether a couple is married “preclude the federal government from extending benefits to legally married couples regardless of where they currently live,” the official said. That means, under current law, certain Social Security and veterans benefits won’t be available to married same-sex couples if they wed in one state, but move to one of the 30 states without marriage equality and apply for the benefits there.

So if you marry in California and move to Arizona, forget the Social Security survivor benefits.

The good news?

The Department of Labor is set to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Family & Medical Leave Act, clarifying an employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse — even if the couple lives in a non-marriage equality state. The rule builds off an earlier announcement in August in which the Labor Department indicated married same-sex couples were eligible under the FMLA, but that development only applied to couples living in states with marriage equality.

Fixing the issues will likely require either congressional action (which looks extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future) or a Supreme Court decision striking down the remaining marriage equality bans.

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MEUSA Thanks the More than One Million LGBT Service Members and Veterans For Their Service

Monday, November 11th, 2013

This Veterans Day, take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service. Also, take a moment to think of the men and women who are abroad putting their lives at risk so we can rest easy at home. Now, take it further and think about the partners/husbands/wives of those LGBT Servicemembers out there who wait for their loved ones to return. Or the LGBT veteran who walks for the first time into the hospital hand in hand with his or her partner, a silent bundle of nerves waiting to be called out and shot down. Most importantly, thank a veteran. You could be the one person who makes his or her day.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

USA: Obama Administration Will No Longer Block Benefits for Same Sex Spouses of Veterans

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Department of Veteran's Affairs logoAttorney General Eric Holder just announced that the US Government will no longer enforce Title 38 language that blocked benefits to the spouses gay and lesbian veterans.

The Washington Blade reports:

The Obama administration has determined that it will no longer enforce a portion of U.S. code governing veterans benefits to deny gay veterans benefits for their same-sex spouses. In a letter dated Sept. 4, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder notifies U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of the change in the way the Justice Department will enforce Title 38 of the U.S. code.

“[I]n light of subsequent developments and my recommendation, the President has directed the Executive Branch to cease enforcement of Sections 101(3) and 101(31) of Title 38,” Holder writes. “Decisions by the Executive Branch not to enforce federal laws are appropriately rare. Nonetheless, for the reasons described below, the unique circumstances here warrant non-enforcement.”

Our gay and lesbian veterans deserve the same respect and treatment that straight veterans get – their service is no less honorable.

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USA: Brief Challenges DOMA, Other Laws That Discriminate Against Veterans

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

USA: Brief Challenges DOMA, Other Laws That Discriminate Against VeteransA law firm that is part of the challenge against California’s Proposition 8 this week filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of a coalition of national veterans’ service organizations asking the court to strike down laws discriminating against gay and lesbian veterans.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday for Veterans Claims arguing that laws denying gay and lesbian veterans the spousal benefits they have earned, and which Congress has determined are necessary to support their families, “serve[] only to discriminate against gay and lesbian veterans” and “must be struck down as unconstitutional.”

The brief was filed on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Service Women’s Action Network, the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, Vets4Vets, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Full Story from LGBTQ Nation

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