The Justice Department said on Wednesday it would no longer enforce the federal ban on veterans’ benefits for members of same-sex couples, the Huffington Post reported.
Attorney General Eric Holder explained in a letter to lawmakers that his department had opted not to enforce Title 38, as the rule is known, citing the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Continuing to enforce the provision, Holder wrote, “would likely have a tangible adverse effect on the families of veterans and, in some circumstances, active-duty service members and reservists, with respect to survival, health care, home loan, and other benefits.”
The decision earned quick praise in a Wednesday afternoon statement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The continued unwinding of discrimination against legally married couples in the aftermath of the Windsor decision is a welcome development,” said James Esseks, who leads the group’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project. “The federal government is right to ensure that legally married couples, where a spouse has served valiantly in the military, are treated equally. Federal protections that come with marriage should apply to all who are married.”
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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