Service members challenge gay marriage law

Oct. 27, 2011 at 1:33 AM   |   Comments

| License Photo
BOSTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Gay members of the military and veterans who say their spouses are unfairly denied benefits are mounting a legal challenge to the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to file a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston, The Washington Post reported. The lead plaintiffs are Shannon McLaughlin, a major in the Massachusetts National Guard, and her wife, Casey McLaughlin.

The 1996 law bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and says states do not have to recognize gay marriages performed in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal. Massachusetts became the first state to allow gays to marry in 2004.

While gays can now serve openly in the military, those who are married are shortchanged on health benefits and access to a range of amenities from military recreation facilities to burial in military cemeteries, lawyers say. Casey McLaughlin has to pay for her own health coverage, although their twins are covered by Shannon's military insurance.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is involved in the lawsuit.

"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," said Aubrey Sarvis, the group's executive director.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Ukraine warns of "full-scale war"
Oregon girl dies at beach after sand pit collapse
Israel claims West Bank acreage for development
Germany to send arms to Kurds
Malaysia Airlines cuts fares after disasters
Trending News