Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lawsuit filed for married G/L military members challenges DOMA
From a news release, Oct. 27, 2011
2011-10-26

This article shared 4241 times since Wed Oct 26, 2011
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


(Washington, D.C.) Today, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) announced the filing of landmark federal litigation, suing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, on behalf of current and former service members seeking equal recognition, benefits and family support for equal sacrifice and service in the U.S. Armed Forces. The plaintiffs, each legally married, want the armed services to recognize their families and seek the same family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the services and Department of Veterans Affairs provide to opposite-sex spouses.

The case, filed in the District of Massachusetts, challenges the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as well as provisions in Title 10, Title 32, and Title 38 of U.S. Code, which preclude the military from providing same-sex married couples with the same benefits and family support as their straight, married peers.

"This case is about one thing, plain and simple. It's about justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis. "These couples are in long term, committed, and legally recognized marriages, and the military should not be forced to turn its back on them because the federal government refuses to recognize their families."

Together, the plaintiffs represent 159 years of military service; serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy and National Guard; and as couples, have been together for a total of 79 years.

"We've been serving our country too long, working too hard, and sacrificing too much to see our families denied the same recognition, support and benefits as our straight, married counterparts," said lead plaintiff, Major Shannon McLaughlin of the Massachusetts National Guard. McLaughlin and her spouse, Casey, are the parents of ten month old twins, Grace and Grant.

Currently, federal law requires the military to ignore these marriages and, therefore, prevents it from providing vitally needed benefits to these legally married spouses, including housing; health care; surviving spouse benefits; the issuance of military identification cards; and morale, welfare, and recreational programs. These inequities were recently spotlighted when Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard, announced today as a plaintiff in this case, was forced to seek intervention from elected officials and the Pentagon in order for her spouse, a part-time special education teacher, to be permitted to attend a yellow-ribbon reintegration ceremony following CW2 Morgan's return from a deployment to Kuwait.

"As plaintiffs, we are fighting to receive the same benefits and opportunities as our married heterosexual counterparts. This discrimination causes undue financial and emotional hardship for our families. As a cancer survivor, who has been recently diagnosed with a recurrence, I worry every day that my health may take a turn for the worse, and Karen would be unable to receive the survivor's benefits to help take care of our daughter. We are only asking for fair and equitable treatment as a recognized family," Morgan said today.

Abbe Lowell and Christopher Man of Chadbourne & Parke, SLDN's pro bono co-counsel in the case, explained that providing all service members equal benefits is about more than just ensuring equality. They said this case promotes national security.

"Securing benefits for a service member's spouse allows the service member to do his or her job for the nation with the confidence that they're not putting their families at risk. It takes the worry out of the equation and allows them to serve with dignity and honor," they said.

Sarvis pointed out this is not about special rights, as some critics have argued.

"We are not advocating any special treatment for the families of gay and lesbian service members or veterans, but we want to underscore that all military families should be treated the same when it comes to recognition, benefits and family support," said Sarvis.

The Plaintiffs

Major Shannon L. McLaughlin, ARNG

MAJ Shannon McLaughlin is a United States Army Major in the Massachusetts National Guard and serves as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). Her current military assignment is Chief of Legal Assistance for the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She has served for 13 years and is married in the State of Massachusetts to her partner of more than three years, Casey McLaughlin. They are the proud parents of ten-month old twins, Grace and Grant McLaughlin. MAJ McLaughlin has been mobilized and deployed overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and served stateside in various roles during her military career as a JA. Prior to becoming an officer, MAJ McLaughlin attained the rank of Sergeant as an enlisted soldier.

Captain Steve M. Hill, USAR

CAPT Steve Hill is an Army reservist with 18 years of service currently on active duty at an undisclosed post in the Middle East. He is also a veteran of Operation Desert Shield. He is married to Joshua Snyder, his partner of more than a year, and they reside in Columbus, OH, where CAPT Hill is a Director of Public Health for Franklin County. CAPT Hill recently drew national interest when he submitted a video via You Tube that was used during the Fox News/Google Republican Presidential Debate in September to question the candidates about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Charlie Morgan, ARNG

CW2 Charlie Morgan currently resides in New Hampshire, where she is married to her partner of more than 14 years, Karen Morgan, a part-time special education teacher, whose primary responsibility is caring for their four-year old daughter Casey Elena. With more than sixteen years of service, she now works full time as an Active Guard Reserve Education Officer in the New Hampshire National Guard. In 2010, she was deployed to mobilization training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, followed by Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, before returning home to New Hampshire in August 2011. Karen's lack of spousal recognition means she is unable to gain access to health and dental insurance, causing the family to purchase it at full cost with no discount. In addition, her inability to receive a military identification card prevents her from taking their daughter, who is a dependent with her own ID card, on post to take advantage of facilities and services otherwise available to families. CW2 Morgan is a cancer survivor who recently has been diagnosed with recurrent cancer. She worries every day that if her health takes a turn for the worse, her military survivor benefits will not be conferred.

Lieutenant Gary Ross, USN

LT Gary Ross has served in the U.S. Navy since 1995 and is currently stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he works for the Joint Interoperability Test Command's Warfighter Support Division. His duties include standing watch as both the critical and routine Hotline Support Officer for the 24/7 operational, contingency, and routine inoperability problem technical support task team. He also provides support for joint, inter-agency, and coalition communication exercises. He married his partner of more than 11 years, Dan Swezy, in the State of Vermont at 12:01 a.m. on September 20, 2011 as the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" took effect.

Lieutenant Colonel Victoria A. Hudson, USAR

LTC Victoria A. Hudson has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 32 years, including four years enlisted service. She is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor (peace enforcement mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina), two Operation Noble Eagle domestic tours of duty following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., and one tour in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has held a variety of command and staff positions including military intelligence company commander, civil affairs company commander, brigade operations officer (G3) and two battalion commands. She is married to her partner of ten years, Monika Poxon, and they live in Hayward, CA, with their two-year-old daughter.

Airman First Class (A1C) Daniel Henderson, USAF

A1C Daniel P. Henderson joined the U.S. Air Force in November of 2010 and is currently stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he works as a member of the 90th Security Forces Group, providing continuous security for the 90th Missile Wing's most vital assets. The mission of the 90th SFG includes the protection of F. E. Warren AFB, 15 Missile Alert Facilities (MAFs) and 150 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) on constant 24-hour alert throughout a 9,600 square-mile area spanning three states. The 90th SFG also sustains a combat-ready force deployable worldwide in support of wartime and peacetime tasks. He is married Jerret Henderson, his partner of more than 3 years. They plan to start the adoption process within the next few years and become parents.

Captain Joan E. Darrah, USN (Retired)

CAPT Joan E. Darrah joined the Navy in 1973 and served as a Naval Intelligence officer until her retirement in 2002. Her assignments included Deputy Director of the Human Resources Directorate at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Intelligence Community Senior Detailer and Community Manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. From June 1997 until July 2000, she was assigned as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence. Her final assignment was on the staff of the Director of Naval Intelligence where she was the Officer and Enlisted Community Manager. She is married to Lynne Kennedy, her partner since 1990, and they live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, USA (Retired)

COL Stewart Bornhoft served in the U.S. Army from the time of his West Point graduation in 1969 until his retirement in 1995. He completed two tours of duty in Vietnam before serving in Europe for three years and commanding two districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In his final tour of duty, COL Bornhoft was the Director of Public Works at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during which time he was called to Oklahoma City by the Commander of the Third Army to be the Secretary of the Army's Defense Coordinating Officer on-site during the rescue and recovery efforts following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in April 1995. He is married to Stephen McNabb, a former Navy Lieutenant with eight years of active duty service and his partner of 15 years, and they live in Bonita, CA.

###

ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,000 requests for assistance. To learn more, click here.

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100. SLDN's Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Military Service, may be found here.


This article shared 4241 times since Wed Oct 26, 2011
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Namibia ruling, crimes, LGBTQ+ film festival, blogger sentenced
2022-01-23
Namibia's High Court ruled against two same-sex couples fighting for recognition of their marriages, with Judge Hannelie Prinsloo saying she agreed with them but was bound by the nation's prohibition of same-sex relations, Reuters reported. Daniel ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+-rights activist Jim Obergefell announces political run
2022-01-18
Jim Obergefell—the LGBTQ+-rights activist and named plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide—announced Jan. 18 that he is launching a bid for the Ohio state House, CNN.com reported. "I took a history-ma ...


Gay News

Plaintiff in historic Florida marriage-equality lawsuit found dead
2022-01-14
In Florida, Jorge Diaz-Johnston was recently found dead in a Jackson County landfill, ABC News reported. Diaz-Johnston, 54, was reported missing on Jan. 3 near his workplace and police are investigating his death as a homicide, ...


Gay News

Skydeck Chicago announces Valentine's Day 'Love on The Ledge' contest
2022-01-05
Skydeck Chicago has announced its annual "Love on The Ledge" social media contest. The event at the Willis Tower observation deck gives adventurous couples of all backgrounds the chance to tie the knot or renew their ...


Gay News

Monks separate from school after it hires coach in same-sex marriage
2022-01-05
The group of Benedictine monks governing Lisle's Benet Academy announced it will cut ties with the school after the hiring of a lacrosse coach who is in a same-sex marriage, according to Naperville News 17. Benet ...


Gay News

Israel allows surrogacy for same-sex couples, trans people and single men
2022-01-04
Israel Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that, starting next week, same-sex couples, single men and transgender people will be able to parent children through surrogacy, an option that was previously banned for them in the country, ...


Gay News

New Jersey legislature votes to codify marriage equality
2021-12-21
On Dec. 20, New Jersey lawmakers took steps to protect marriage equality, with both houses of the state legislature voting to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage into state law, PhillyVoice.com reported. Sponsors of the legislation ...


Gay News

WORLD Chile's marriage law, Tokyo's move, Iran arrest, Mr. Gay World resigns
2021-12-19
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed a historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law, days after the measure was approved by Congress, Al-Jazeera reported. The law "puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing," ...


Gay News

NATIONAL New Jersey, Audre Lorde, LGBTQ book, youth items
2021-12-19
In the face of growing anxiety over the Supreme Court's conservative bent, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to pass marriage-equality legislation, Gay City News reported. According to Garden State Equality, the New Jersey Assembly's ...


Gay News

Chile's political houses approve marriage equality by landslide margin
2021-12-08
Chile approved marriage-equality legislation in a landslide vote on Dec. 7, NPR reported. Both houses of Chile's Congress authorized the measure with overwhelming majorities, making it the eighth Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, as ...


Gay News

Thailand, Switzerland go in opposite directions regarding marriage equality
2021-11-18
Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled a law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the country is constitutional, The Washington Blade reported. The Foundation for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Rights and Justice, ...


Gay News

Veterans Day event features Col. Pritzker, Kinzinger and Duckworth
2021-11-12
On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), 104 S. Michigan Ave., hosted a free Veteran's Day program that was livestreamed live via YouTube. Transgender Col. (IL) Jennifer Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired ...


Gay News

Same-sex partners can now access Social Security survivor's benefits
2021-11-05
--From a press release - [New York, NY] This week, Lambda Legal has announced that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has withdrawn its appeals in two cases on behalf of surviving same-sex partners and spouses whom SSA had previously denied from ...


Gay News

Departments dismiss appeals of same-sex Social Security survivor case
2021-11-01
On Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Social Security Administration (SSA) dismissed their Ninth Circuit appeals of two nationwide class-action suits that Lambda Legal won. The original ruling was in favor of surviving ...


Gay News

WORLD Japan politics, video games, lesbian tennis player, Mr. Gay World
2021-10-10
LGBTQ+-rights activists were hoping Japan would finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported same-sex marriage, became the country's next prime minister—but their hopes were dashed. Japan's ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.