Thursday, June 28, 2012

Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act

While the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) has introduced HR 6046, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012 (MSET) that would change the definition of "spouse" in 4 areas of U.S. Code related to recognition, support & benefits for married service members & veterans. The changes including Titles 10, 32, & 38 that are challenged in Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s (SLDN) landmark litigation, McLaughlin v. U.S., filed in October 2011 which would ensure that spouses of the same gender are eligible for key military benefits. Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis stated, "Our nation's senior military leaders & commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support & benefits for our nation's service members - one for straight service members & a different one for their gay & lesbian peers. There cannot be 2 classes of service members & this legislation addresses that effectively." In his remarks at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson referenced the growing awareness of this disparity among leadership in the armed forces stating, "The repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' exposes certain inequalities between similarly situated couples in the military community. This troubles many of our leaders." Updates to Come…:)

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