A time of momentous change for gay military couples | Law Offices of David P. Sheldon
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A time of momentous change for gay military couples

Last Friday marked a signal day in the long march of gay Americans toward full equality before the law. In a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court held that no state in the union refusing to recognize same-sex marital unions could any longer deny the validity of such marriages consummated in other states deeming them lawful.

Thus, the court's ruling rendered ineffective the same-sex marriage bans that had been in force in 13 states.

As noted in a post-ruling article on the seminal topic and historical court outcome, the long odyssey of gay couples seeking legal recognition of their unions and the full legal protections flowing from universally recognized marriage was especially meaningful and poignant for gay military couples.

The singular challenges and hurdles that have been faced by gay servicemembers -- both male and female -- over virtually the entire history of the American military can hardly be overstated. In recent years, though, barriers began falling, with the Defense of Marriage Act passed in 2013 conferring important rights upon gay married couples in the military and granting them previously denied benefits.

Notwithstanding such changes, though, a clear anomaly continued to exist for many gay military and veterans' couples residing in one of the states continuing to hold out against gay marriage.

As the above-cited article notes, "same-sex couples were affected by policies outside the base gates in states that did not recognize [their] marriages."

That disconnect will now no longer exist, with uniformity finally residing in an area of law that had been marked by great regional variances and dichotomies.

Of course, legal change alone can never eradicate entirely the discrimination that select persons and groups experience in the workplace and in other areas of life. Discriminatory behavior can focus upon gender, race, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and a host of other factors.

Any military member who experiences discrimination of any sort should obtain independent legal advice from a proven military or civilian attorney.

Source: Military Times, "Gay military couples to see more barriers fall," Karen Jowers, June 26, 2015

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