LGBT service members still denied equality

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By Jordan Ruimy

After the ban of the Military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, most Americans would think that our troops are serving freely and fairly alongside each other. But that is not the case.  

So says Evan Wolfson of Freedom To Marry, an American coalition dedicated to freedom for same-sex couples. “Federal law still discriminates against married gay and lesbian service members, veterans, and their families by denying them crucial protections and creating two classes of service members in our armed forces.”

Adam Smith, an important house Democrat from Washington who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, agrees with Wolfson.

Smith has introduced a bill that would give new meaning to the word “spouse” in military terms, so that same-sex couples could reap the same military benefits as a wife and husband could.  “If veterans or service members have a spouse of the same sex, then their spouse will be afforded the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts,” said Smith in an earlier statement.

The bill, known as HR 6046, was introduced by Smith as the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act.

Easy times are not ahead for Smith in his battle, especially in a Republican controlled House of Representatives. There is also talk that if Romney wins the presidency and Republicans takeover house and senate, then we may see a reinstatement of the ban on openly gay military servicemen and women.

Smith says, “Spouses of service members should not be prevented from receiving the benefits they have earned simply because they are the same sex as their partner.”

Under current law, benefits currently being denied to same-sex military spouses include surviving spouse benefits, medical and dental insurance, housing benefits, treatment in military medical facilities, and free legal services, among others.

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