Shaheen demands VA protect same-sex couples' rights

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) applauded the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement that it would protect same-sex couples’ rights, but said more should be done within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Some same-sex military families are still denied critical benefits because of current law,” Shaheen said Monday. “We need to pass the Charlie Morgan Act because every veteran deserves access to the benefits that they’ve earned and rightfully deserve, and I will continue working to make this goal a reality.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Shaheen’s comments came after DOJ said it would extend privileges, protections and rights to all legally married couples in every program the agency administers.

“The Justice Department’s announcement takes a great step forward in the fight for full and complete equality for all Americans,” Shaheen said. “But while our legal system is finally moving to recognize that no American should be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the reality is that legal discrimination remains.”

Shaheen has introduced a bill, the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, which would ensure that same-sex married couples receive military benefits such as spousal support upon death.

Several states have legalized gay marriage. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying the federal government cannot discriminate against same-sex couples. Democratic lawmakers have been since the ruling to ensure the administration and federal laws comply with the ruling.