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19 February 2012

Praise: A.G. Eric Holder To Not Enforce DOMA on Military

Talking Points Memo has the story and a copy of Attorney General Holder's letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives that states that the Obama Administration will not defend DOMA in the context of military benefits.  In particular, the Department of Justice will not defend DOMA in the case of McLaughlin v. Panetta, where eight military same-gender couples filed suit in October 2011 for equal military benefits to opposite-gender  couples.  As reported by the Washington Times.
It’s “a threat to national security” when the military is unable to promise legally married same-sex service members that their families will be provided for in their absence, Army Maj. Shannon McLaughlin and 15 other plaintiffs argued in their complaint. They are represented by lawyers with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Chadbourne & Parke LLP in New York City.
The service members want to be counted as married for such military purposes as medical and dental coverage, housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, visitation rights in military hospitals, survivor benefits and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries.
The lawsuit names Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki as defendants.
The decision to not defend DOMA in McLaughlin v. Panetta does not mean that Major McLaughlin and her co-plaintiffs have won.  The case still needs to play out, first before Massachusetts District Court Judge Richard Stearns.  I would expect that Mr. Boenher will waste more taxpayer dollars defending that which is clearly unconstitutional.  This has the potential to be a landmark case, like the Proposition 8 case out of California, that may be headed for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Thanks to the Stars and Stripes for the heads up.

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