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Same-Sex Military Couples File Lawsuit in Federal Court for Equal Benefits

By Nottage and Ward on November 29, 2011

As same-sex couples find acceptance across the nation, it is inevitable that the federal government must address equality issues that relate to their jurisdiction. The U.S. government may have this chance very soon as a group of same-sex military couples have filed a federal lawsuit, according to Unfortunately, a group of high-ranking U.S. government officials, including Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi are already determined to fight the suit, which seeks to obtain military benefits for same-sex couples equal to heterosexual couples.

The lawsuit names 16 plaintiffs and was filed in a Massachusetts federal court on behalf of “current and former active duty members of the United States armed forces seeking equal benefits for equal work.” The benefits sought include retirement, family separation benefits, additional housing allowances, military ID for spouses, extended insurance coverage, and spousal death benefits. The defendants named in the lawsuit include the U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and even the United States of America itself. The Department of Justice has until December 31 to respond to the lawsuit.

All plaintiffs in the suit are active or retired homosexual members of the military from California, Boston, Ohio, Arizona, Virginia and Wyoming and all were denied military benefits for their same-sex spouses even though they served equally with heterosexual military members. Based on the suit, military family benefits “fail to address the modern military.”

It is yet unknown how this legal attempt for same-sex military family benefits will end, but it is clear that modern society can only function under old rules for so long before conflict pushes change. After passing its civil union bill into law in June, Illinois is making necessary changes to address issues of modern society. At Nottage and Ward, our experienced civil union attorneys in Chicago are committed to helping same-sex couples understand the new law and its ramifications. If you are considering entering into an Illinois civil union, call us today for a consultation at (312) 332-2915.

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