Back in February, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would not act in McLaughlin v. Panetta to defend, in the military context, the federal-recognition component of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The plaintiffs, each legally married, want the armed services to recognize their families and seek the same family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the services and Department of Veterans Affairs provide to opposite-sex spouses.
[ . . . ]
Currently, federal law requires the military to ignore these marriages and, therefore, prevents it from providing vitally needed benefits to these legally married spouses, including housing; health care; surviving spouse benefits; the issuance of military identification cards; and morale, welfare, and recreational programs.
At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet and asking Congress to focus on jobs, the economy, and federal spending, all Members should be concerned that taxpayers dollars are being used to pay costly legal fees to make arguments that lack adequate factual or legal support, in pursuit of a law that is not worthy of a defense.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, who filed the suit, sent a strong message that the Speaker is hurting military families. Army veteran and Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:
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 Speaker has turned a deaf ear to the urgent pleas of CW2 Charlie Morgan and countless families like hers, who are living with the day-to-day realities of a military that has been forced to create two classes of service members . . . [His] politically motivated ongoing defense of these unjust laws is hurting military families. It’s time to repeal DOMA and revise these antiquated laws that are preventing all military families from being treated with fairness and equality. There cannot be two classes of service members.
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