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House GOP Faces Decision on Opposing Benefits to Spouses of Married Gay Veterans

The House GOP faces a decision on Thursday and must answer whether it will continue to defend laws limiting veterans benefits to heterosexual married couples, Buzzfeed reports:

Boehner“We’re reviewing the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision, and don’t have any announcement to make at this time,” House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, told BuzzFeed on Wednesday when asked if the defense of the veterans’ statutes would continue.

The day after the Supreme Court ruled in Edie Windsor’s challenge to section 3 of DOMA that the federal definition of marriage that excluded gay couples in DOMA is unconstitutional, Judge Richard Stearns asked the parties in another lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts and addressing the rights of service members and veterans and their spouses, to give “any reasons why judgment should not enter for plaintiffs in this case.”

The plaintiffs in the Massachusetts case, filed by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Chadbourne & Park, argued in a Wednesday filing in the case that the decision in Windsor’s case controls the outcome in their case and that Stearns should decide in their favor.

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.


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  1. You are confusing two cases here. McLaughlin is a simple DOMA challenge. She and the other plaintiffs are currently in the Army. The Veteran's Affairs case is another one: Cardona v. Shinseki

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 17, 2013 2:31:47 PM

  2. Any attempts by the GOP to deny benefits to veteran spouses at this point should be seen as nothing less than sheer spitefulness and hatred. Shame on all of them.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 17, 2013 3:14:51 PM

  3. Susana Martinez of New Mexico had no qualms about treating gay and straight army spouses and vets different,I have no doubt the GOP will do the same.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 17, 2013 3:17:16 PM

  4. The obvious decision is to waste another few million dollars of taxpayer money.. Duh?

    Posted by: Matt N | Jul 17, 2013 4:04:55 PM

  5. I don't know as the GOP has a legal leg to stand on (so I suppose they'll use the HATE and IGNORANCE legs they use in most circumstances).

    Besides, if the American Taliban (aka The GOP) uses its own data, there are maybe 200 gay couples in the US. So why are they bitching?

    Posted by: YsoSerious | Jul 17, 2013 4:10:02 PM

  6. I should think that in the wake of DOMA this case can only go one way. I'm not sure what the point of defending it might be since they now know they can't win. Even if they regain all three branches of govt. they would still need to fight this again in court to overturn the DOMA ruling.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 17, 2013 4:12:51 PM

  7. I love that the GOP is now in the position of either supporting rights for gay people OR not supporting the troops. Whoever could have guessed they'd paint themselves into THAT particular corner? :)

    Posted by: Jere | Jul 17, 2013 4:42:01 PM

  8. @JERE: 2 points!

    Posted by: Fat Queer | Jul 17, 2013 5:50:44 PM

  9. Jere -- if you look at the GOP's record, "support the troops" is code for "handouts to military contractors." Opposing benefits to the spouses of gay servicemembers poses no contradiction in their minds.

    Posted by: Hunter | Jul 17, 2013 7:09:31 PM

  10. I would like to think that the Teavangelicals would look back at the DOMA decision and decide not to waste any more of our hard-earned tax dollars. I'd also like to think that they would not want to incur any more of the country's ill will.

    But then, we have logical minds, and they do not.....

    Posted by: Hal | Jul 17, 2013 7:17:36 PM

  11. I predict their hatred for gay people trumps their love of veterans.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 18, 2013 2:23:24 AM

  12. Just another reason to never again vote for a Republican.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jul 18, 2013 11:53:40 AM

  13. Afraid Steve is confused.

    Cardona is indeed a veterans benefits case.

    McLaughlin is a more complex mix of current service-members and veterans. The list of plaintiffs is here:

    They include a retired Army Lt. Col. and a retired Navy captain.

    That's why the judge asked the question. This suit was about DOMA and the regs that govern spousal eligibility for veterans' benefits.

    The real point: Judge Stearns is far more feisty and ready to take this move forward than any judge on the Cardona case, which is in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, a specialty court that deals more readily with administrative questions than constitutionality.

    Posted by: Chuckles | Jul 18, 2013 1:18:21 PM

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