NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a U.S. Navy veteran say it is unconstitutional to deny her the increase in disability benefits other married vets get because her spouse is a woman.
Carmen Cardona of Norwich, Conn., applied for an increase in benefits after her marriage last year and was turned down. She is being represented by the Veterans Legal Clinic at Yale Law School in New Haven, which plans to challenge the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, The New York Times reported.
The case will be heard before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, which tends to avoid sweeping legal findings, the newspaper said. If Cardona is turned down there, she can appeal through the federal courts.
Cardona, who has carpal tunnel syndrome, served in the Navy for 12 years on active duty and six in the Reserves.
While President Obama has instructed the Justice Department against defending the Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs could decide to do so. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, plans to defend the law, using lawyers hired for the purpose.