The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, by a vote of 13-12, rejected an amendment that would update Title 38 of the U.S. Code to ensure that spousal benefits of gay, lesbian and bisexual veterans would be available no matter the state of residence.
Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said he opposed the amendment because it would interfere with states that have enacted laws related to marriage.
Section 103(c) of Title 38 of the U.S. Code governs veterans benefits. And currently, the code is dictated by the state of residence, not the state of celebration.
In other words, veterans benefits for spouses are predicated on where you live, not where you got married. So even if you are legally married, if your current state of residence
doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, those same-sex spouses are out of luck in regards to receiving the same benefits afforded heterosexual veterans and their spouses.
Lori Hensic, director of research and policy for the LGBT military group known as the American Military Partner Association, issued this statement:
“The ability of our nation’s veterans, no matter their sexual orientation, to access their earned benefits should be an issue that transcends partisan politics,” Hensic said. “It’s a sad reflection on the state of our Congress when our elected officials cannot put aside their differences to end this discrimination.”