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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for August, 2013

And Veterans Benefits

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2013

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage act, it didn’t address any other sections of the law which also limit the definition of marriage, like Title 38, the portion of the U.S. code covering veterans’ benefits. That code barred the VA from recognizing marriages for couples residing in states where that marriage is illegal. It looks like that restriction is history as well:

U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall, a Carter appointee, grants summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs by determining the U.S. government lacks any rational basis in withholding these benefits. Marshall finds current law doesn’t advance gender equity or military purposes.

“Title 38 is not rationally related to the military’s commitment to caring for and providing for veterans benefits,” Marshall writes. “[T]he court permanently enjoins Defendants from relying on [Title 38] or Section 3 of [DOMA] to deny recognition of Plantiffs’ marriage recognized by the State of California.”

It’s not immediately clear Thursday night whether the ruling means the U.S. government is enjoined from blocking benefits for all gay married veterans or only the plaintiffs who filed suit in the case. However, the court declared the law unconstitutional, not just as applied to the plaintiffs.