DOMA Repeal Suit Launched

SLDN: All military families deserve equal benefits

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has filed a federal suit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act’s right to prevent the military from giving the same benefits to married gay and lesbian couples as it gives to married straight spouses. The organization announced the suit at a press conference in Washington today.

The SLDN names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shineski in the landmark litigation, which SLDN filed on behalf of current and former servicemembers seeking equal recognition, benefits and family support from the government.

The case, filed in the District of Massachusetts, challenges the constitutionality of DOMA as well as provisions in Title 10, Title 32, and Title 38 of U.S. Code, which preclude the military from providing same-sex married couples with the same benefits and family support as their straight, married peers. Currently, federal law requires the military to ignore same-sex marriages and, therefore, prevents it from providing vitally needed benefits to these legally married spouses, including housing; health care; surviving spouse benefits; the issuance of military identification cards; and morale, welfare, and recreational programs. 

Together, the plaintiffs represent 159 years of military service in the Army, Air Force, Navy and National Guard. They are:

  • Major Shannon L. McLaughlin, a U.S. Army Major in the Massachusetts National Guard

  • Captain Steve M. Hill, an active-duty Army Reservist

  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Charlie Morgan, an administrator with the New Hampshire National Guard

  • Lieutenant Gary Ross, USN, a Naval officer stationed in Fort Huachaca, Arizona

  • Lieutenant Colonel Victoria A. Hudson, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 32 years

  • Airman First Class (A1C) Daniel Henderson of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • Captain Joan E. Darrah, USN (Retired), a Naval Intelligence officer until her retirement in 2002

  • Colonel Stewart Bornhoft (Retired), an Army officer since 1969

We’ve been serving our country too long, working too hard, and sacrificing too much to see our families denied the same recognition, support and benefits as our straight, married counterparts,” said lead plaintiff McLaughlin.

What Do You Think?