WASHINGTON — A federal judge in California on Thursday found that, as with the ban on federal recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages, federal veterans’ benefits laws that limit the benefits to opposite-sex spouses are unconstitutional.
Finding no rational basis for the definitions in Title 38 of the U.S. Code that limit provision of veteran benefits to opposite-sex couples, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall found the statutes unconstitutional.
Specifically, Marshall found:
The denial of benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages is not rationally related to any of these military purposes.
Additionally, Title 38 is not rationally related to the military’s commitment to caring for and providing for veteran families.
The case was brought on behalf of Tracey and Maggie Cooper-Harris by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The American Military Partner Association, Stephen Peters, said in a statement, “Title 38 clearly violated the constitutional rights of our military veteran families. This decision sets our nation on a path to honoring and serving all of our veterans and their families, regardless of their sexual orientation.”