Defense of Marriage Act: Gay Soldiers Sue Congress; Conservatives Strangely Quiet

Today, eight married military staff put a lawsuit into action challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as an act exclusively between a man and a woman.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is the organization behind the suit. Founded in 1993, their purposes included ending the 1996 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and ending the harassment of gay and lesbian members of America armed forces organizations.

“This case is about one thing… justice for gay and lesbian service members… [who are] rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure,” Aubrey Sarvis, the SLDN’s executive director, told the Associated Press.

The suit was filed at a U.S. district court in Boston – the same one, coincidentally, that ruled DOMA unconstitutional last year. The Pentagon and the Justice Department are set to investigate the claims.

The suit challenged the right of same-sex partners to extend their benefits to each other and their children.

A representative, Capt. John Kirby, acknowledged that homosexual armed forces members can already choose beneficiaries for some benefits, but for other benefits they cannot.

This isn’t the first legal action against DOMA. A slew of lawsuits have been filed by couples in states that permit gay partners to marry.

The most prevalent action against DOMA comes from the Senate, who stated that another bill repealing DOMA would be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 3.

Although there was no specific conservative backlash regarding the news, the stance of certain politicians on gay marriage was made clear during the Iowa caucus.

Rick Santorum told Iowa Saturday that he would visit “every single state” to push out judges who aren’t for DOMA, according to Keen News Service. Newt Gingrich said he would try to “abolish” courts that didn’t agree altogether.

“Presidents, on occasion, ignore the court,” Gingrich reminded, so “misguided interpretations” like that of the Boston judge would not affect countrywide policy.

Herman Cain’s stance was this: “I think marriage should be protected at the federal level… there’s a movement going on to basically take the teeth out of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and that could cause an unraveling,” according to the Washington Blade.

However, staunch support for the protection of marriage has appeared to diminish publicly. Part of this is because open endorsements of gay marriage by figures like Dick Cheney, Barbara Bush, and President Barack Obama have gone largely unchallenged and unnoticed.

According to John Feeheery, a GOP strategist, this could be caused by the economic status of the country. “I think that the economic issues are so big that this one pales in comparison,” he told the New York Times.

Gay marriage backing could have flourished in the face of less opposition as the American people and politicians focus on the economy.

Right now, the Pentagon is required by law to overlook same-sex partnerships and marriages.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a gay rights group, doesn’t expect there to be any legal change to DOMA until 2013, says the Times.

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