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Gay Troops Sue Over DOMA

Lawsuit to be filed today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2011 7:26 AM CDT

(Newser) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may be gone, but married gay and lesbian service members aren’t done fighting for equal rights: Six active troops and two veterans are filing suit today to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act. Lead plaintiffs Shannon McLaughlin, a Massachusetts Army National Guard major, and her wife, Casey, were married in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal. But DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing that marriage, and keeps Casey from being covered under her wife’s health care plan. It also would prohibit Casey from bringing their twins, who are covered, to medical appointments on base, should Shannon be deployed.

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The suit, which will be filed in the same Boston court that last year found DOMA unconstitutional, will also challenge parts of federal code that prevent gay couples from accessing certain Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, the Washington Post reports. Those benefits include military ID cards, base access, burial rights, recreational programs, and support groups for spouses. “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,” says the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. (Read more Defense of Marriage Act stories.)

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