Gay and lesbian military members plan to challenge federal laws that ban gay marriage and define a spouse as a person of the opposite sex. The federal lawsuit will be filed just five weeks after the military ended its ban on gays serving openly, The Washington Post’s Federal Eye blog reported. www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/gay-troops-file-suit-challenging-defense-of-marriage-act/2011/10/26/gIQAjGqDKM_blog.html
The suit is to be filed in federal court in Boston challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Last year, a federal judge in Boston held the law unconstitutional, a ruling that is now before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The suit challenges provisions that bar gays from various military benefits, such as access to bases, recreational programs, spousal support groups, and burial rights at national cemeteries.
Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez told the Post that officials are “engaged in a careful and deliberate review” of which benefits could be extended to same-sex partners.
Several challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act are wending their way through federal courts. The Obama administration stopped defending the act in court challenges this year, but House Republicans hired a lawyer to do so, the Post reported.
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