Boehner and House Republicans Intervene Yet Again in Military Benefits Case Challenging DOMA
House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in the form of The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group have filed a motion to intervene in another case challenging DOMA, one brought by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on behalf of gay and lesbian servicemembers, veterans and their spouses.
The move is similar to BLAG's action in a similar case brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Cooper-Harris v. United States, in which equal veterans benefits are being sought. BLAG, which is controlled by the House Republican leadership, has intervened in several DOMA challenges to defend the 1996 law after the Obama administration stopped defending the federal definition of marriage in February 2011, when Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder concluded the law was unconstitutional.
In a statement today, SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis said, "Speaker Boehner's request to defend this case in the wake of the ongoing harm done to military families by these discriminatory laws is reprehensible and callous."
The Washington Post reported:
The suit also challenges provisions of federal code regarding spouses that lawyers said bar gay couples from accessing benefits provided by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those benefits include military identification cards, access to bases, recreational programs, spousal support groups and burial rights at national cemeteries.
The suit's lead plaintiffs are Massachusetts Army National Guard Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, 41, and her wife, Casey, 34. Five other troops and two veterans are also involved.
This is the 12th case challenging DOMA in which Boehner has intervened, adds Think Progress.