Gay rights group sues VA

LGBT rights group Lambda Legal and a partner law firm have filed suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the American Military Partner Association.

The lawsuit argues that the military has violated the civil rights of LGBT service members and their spouses by failing to extend benefits to “same-sex spouses of veterans living in states that refuse to recognize their marriages.” The lawsuit points to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act—a move that Lambda, its lawyers and other LGBT advocates say means state law cannot trump federal law in the case of military spousal benefits.

“Gay and lesbian veterans have served their country and risked the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their duty to this nation,” Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lamda Legal, said in a statement, adding, “Married veterans and their spouses, wherever they live, need critical veterans benefits, earned through years of often perilous service, to take care of their families. No member of our community should be left behind just because their home state continues to discriminate against their marriage.”

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