Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-07-19
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SPLC condemns House Republican action on disabled lesbian vet
From a news release
2012-04-02

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) condemned efforts by House Republicans to prevent a decorated 12-year U.S. Army veteran and other married gay and lesbian veterans from receiving the same disability benefits provided to their married heterosexual counterparts.

In an effort to deny these veterans their benefits, the group of legislators, who are part of the so-called Bipartisan Legal Advocacy Group (BLAG), moved to intervene today in the case filed in February by the SPLC on behalf of Tracey Cooper-Harris and her wife, Maggie. The couple has been denied dependency benefits available to married veterans because the federal government will not recognize marriages by same-sex couples.

"This shameful crusade by Rep. John Boehner and his colleagues against our brave men and women in uniform is nothing short of disgusting," said Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC. "These lawmakers are actually spending our taxpayer dollars in this fight against those who put their lives on the line in defense of our country. It's really remarkable the lengths they will go to discriminate."

In a letter to Boehner, the Democratic members of BLAG denounced the motion to intervene, which will be filed today in federal court in Los Angeles, as a new and direct assault against our nation's veterans. The letter can be viewed at www.democraticleader.gov/. Although the group is a bipartisan panel, House Democrats have refused to support any legal defense of DOMA and have repeatedly called for a briefing on the expenditures by the group. Last October, Boehner tripled the estimate that the DOMA defense will cost taxpayers to $1.5 million, which will be paid to a Washington, D.C., law firm.

The letter from Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer also notes that the Republicans' efforts to intervene in the case exceed the scope of the original BLAG authorization to defend DOMA. The March 2011 motion by GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor that authorized the group's intervention in these issues was limited to defending "section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act" and no other federal statute. As such, Pelosi and Hoyer have requested a formal vote of the BLAG on extending the defense of discrimination to veterans and their families.

"I am very disappointed that lawmakers claim to support veterans, but are preventing families like me and Maggie from getting the benefits we need to survive," Tracey said. "I dedicated 12 years of my life to defending the country I love. It's frustrating that these lawmakers would rather use taxpayer dollars to defend discrimination instead of providing my family the benefits I earned as a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We live paycheck to paycheck and those benefits could go a long way toward easing some of the financial pressure we face."

In 2011, the House Speaker created BLAG in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's decision not to defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 prohibits the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, even if the marriage is fully recognized by state law. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice announced that it would not defend the definition of marriage under Title 38, the federal statute that relates to military benefits, because it has determined that the law is unconstitutional. Despite BLAG's efforts, two federal courts have blocked Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional.

The lawsuit filed by the SPLC and the law firm of WilmerHale in February charges that the Department of Veterans Affairs discriminated against Tracey and her wife by denying them disabled veteran benefits available to other married veterans and their spouses, even though their marriage is legally recognized in California, the state where they live.

The VA denied the benefits because Title 38 defines "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex." Even if the department changes its definition of "spouse," DOMA defines marriage for all federal purposes as between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

In 2010, Tracey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), which the VA has determined is connected to her military service. There is no known cure for MS, a disabling disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system. Tracey applied for additional disability compensation as a married veteran to help ensure that Maggie has some financial stability.

The couple, a typical working-class family, is on a limited budget. Maggie is an apprentice at an electricians union and Tracey is a graduate student who only recently got a job with the local VA. Any additional income or benefit from Tracey's years of military service would offset some of the economic strain resulting from Tracey's medical condition. This includes the cost of medicine, therapy and time the couple has to miss from work to attend Tracey's doctors' appointments.

A video detailing how DOMA is harming veterans and their families like the Cooper-Harris family can be viewed at www.splcenter.org .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Sky moving to South Loop 2017-07-25 - The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) has voted to approve an arena agreement bringing the Chicago Sky to the city of Chicago. ...


Gay News

United State of Women holds Chicago summit 2017-07-19 - More than 1,000 women from all walks of life convened at McCormick Place to kick off the United State of Women Galvanize Program ...


Gay News

1970s Gay & Lesbian Parents Group to reunite July 30 2017-07-19 - Chicago's Gay & Lesbian Parents Group—which was active from the mid-1970s through the 1990s—will hold a reunion on Sunday, July 30, at 4 ...


Gay News

PERFORMANCE Sandra Bernhard talks comedy, sexuality, career 2017-07-19 - As part of her tour, Sandra Bernhard will be coming to Chicago to perform her latest comedy show, "Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to ...


Gay News

Lesbian Maj. Margaret Witt to release book on her military trial 2017-07-18 - After a highly decorated 18-year career in the Air Force, Major Margaret Witt was discharged based on an allegation that she had engaged ...


Gay News

NATIONAL ROUNDUP Man's body found, N.C. Pride situation, Cincinnati clash 2017-07-18 - Police in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, recovered the body of Todd McKee after issuing a missing-persons report, DelawareOnline.com reported. McKee ( the partner of ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees 2017-07-15 - Nine individuals, three organizations, and two friends of the community have been selected for 2017 induction into the Chicago LGBTHall of Fame, the ...


Gay News

One Iowa Condemns Anti-Transgender Amendments to Defense Authorization Bill 2017-07-12 - [Des Moines]— Rep. Steve King ( R-Iowa ) has proposed two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 ( ...


Gay News

MUSIC Lesbian singer Jennifer Knapp continues to break new ground 2017-07-12 - Lesbian singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp has sold more than 1 million records and crossed over into a completely different genre. Knapp has recently ...


Gay News

'CLLAW XXVII' on July 29 in Chicago 2017-07-12 - The Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers ( CLLAW ) will be featured at "CLLAW XXVII: Summer Smackdown" on Saturday, July 29, at ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.