Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Barring Same-Sex Veteran Benefits

Tracey and Maggie Cooper-Harris

A little over two weeks ago we told you about the Pentagon extending social security benefits to same-sex couples, even if they were just couples in states where their marriage was legal. Last week, we told you about the Alaska State Personnel Board changing the definition of 'family' to include same-sex couples, and early this week we informed you that the Texas Supreme Court will be hearing a case this November to determine if the state will recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as legal. Today is California's turn.

Plaintiffs Tracey and Maggie Cooper-Harris brought their case before the California Supreme Court in February 2012, alleging that DOMA and the resulting denial of veteran benefits to same-sex couples were discriminatory and unconstitutional. On Thursday Judge Consuelo B. Marshall ruled that the definitions in Title 38 of the U.S. Code that limit provision of veterans’ benefits to opposite-sex couples have no rational basis. This is a major step forward for members of the armed forces in legal same-sex marriages as their husbands and wives are now entitled to all of the VA benefits and protections that are normally given to the spouses of heterosexual spouses. According to the Defense Department, same-sex couples can start receiving these benefits this Tuesday on September 3rd.

And the dominoes keep falling.