All posts in category Veterans Unite for Marriage
Veterans Unite for Marriage
About Veterans Unite for MarriageOn September 3rd, 2013, the Obama Administration announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would begin providing benefits to gay or lesbian spouses of service members. Unfortunately, according to federal statutes, the VA will only grant benefits to service couples whose marriage is recognized legally in their home state. Since the federal government does not recognize civil unions, Illinois service members and veterans and their spouses are being denied important protections, like survivor payments and healthcare at veterans’ medical facilities.
In response, Illinois Unites for Marriage has organized Veterans Unite for Marriage, Illinois service members and their families who are urging the passage of the freedom to marry now so they can access essential legal and economic protections for themselves and their family.
“Our military and veterans have served around the world to help ensure the freedom of others. They deserve nothing less than to be treated fairly and equally under our laws in Illinois as well. It is time for the members of the General Assembly to guarantee equal rights for all and send a marriage equality bill to my desk as soon as possible.”
- Governor Pat Quinn
- Governor Pat Quinn
Meet Illinois veterans for the freedom to marry
Click here to read Jim's story.
Click here to read Travis's story.
Click here to read Clayton's story.
How marriage affects veterans and active militarySince the federal government defers to the states in determining whether a marriage is valid, no overall federal law grants protections to same-sex couples. While the federal government will no longer enforce language within Title 38 of the U.S. Code, which forbids the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense from recognizing as legal any marriage other than that of one man and one woman, the VA only considers a marriage valid if:
- the state where the couple lived when they married recognizes the marriage as legal, or
- the state where the couple lived when the veteran's right to benefits began recognizes the marriage as legal.
Instead, Illinois couples in civil unions are denied important military spousal protections, including:
- Health Care
- Educational Benefits
- Cash Survivor Benefits
- Burial Benefits
- Home Loan Benefits