Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has fired back at Speaker of the House John Boehner and his Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group for requesting to intervene in a gay marriage suit filed by servicemembers and veterans.
The federal case, McLaughlin v. U.S., was filed in October 2011 by SLDN on behalf of eight married gay and lesbian servicemembers and veterans. The case seeks to overturn federal laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act, barring the military from providing equal benefits to married same-sex couples.
House Republicans created BLAG to defend DOMA after the Justice Department announced it would not defend the measure in court.
BLAG recently filed to intervene in the McLaughlin case.
“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,” said SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis. “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.”
Morgan, a plaintiff in the case who is battling stage IV breast cancer, went to Washington in February to talk with lawmakers about equal benefits for servicemembers and to ask Boehner not to intervene in the lawsuit.
“Should I not survive this bout with cancer, my wife Karen will not receive any survivor’s benefits, Social Security benefits or health insurance coverage,” Morgan said this week. “Karen is a stay-at-home mom, taking care of our four-year old daughter while I undergo chemotherapy. Now, after fighting for my country in Iraq and fighting for my life with this illness, I am forced to fight the speaker of the house in order to make sure that my family is cared for when I am gone. It’s shameful.”
Sarvis added, “Speaker Boehner’s 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 servicemembers.”
Meet the plaintiffs in the SLDN case.