Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Week's Toon: The Theoconoclasts



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate 
Nov 2, 2011

Now that gay and lesbian military personnel no longer have to lie about themselves, and since some of them are able to marry, a group of service members and veterans has filed a lawsuit that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory. DOMA, passed by the Republican Congress in July, 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, forbids any aspect of the federal government from recognizing the marriage of any same-sex couple in any way.

From the Washington Post:
Massachusetts Army National Guard Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, 41, and her wife, Casey, 34, are serving as lead plaintiffs in the suit, which includes five other troops and two career Army and Navy veterans. The McLaughlins, from Foxboro, Mass., married in December 2009 and have 10-month old twins. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.
Although Shannon pays for the twins’ health care through her military benefits, Casey, a former high school history teacher who gave birth to the twins, pays about $700 a month for a separate health-care account, the couple said. ...If Shannon is deployed, Casey would be barred from taking the twins to regular medical appointments at a nearby military base, the couple said.
“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, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which helped organize the suit and once represented troops discharged for violating “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Likewise, same-sex widows and widowers of servicemembers are ineligible for survivors' benefits, unlike different-sex widows and widowers. Happily, there is nobody yet with standing to bring suit in that respect, but someone will inevitably be in that position someday.

It will be interesting to see how this legal issue plays out in court -- if the Republican-dominated state legislatures produced by the 2010 elections don't fast track a constitutional amendment first.

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