Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN have released their latest “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry” video. This time, the video features prominent military veteran LGBT allies. In this case, Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett (ret.), Army Major Mary Bergner, and former Representative Captain Patrick Murphy. All three speak out in support of married lesbian and gay service members and the problems that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) poses for the military including preventing married same-sex couples from receiving the same level of benefits that their straight counterparts receive.
Rear Admiral Barnett (ret) says in the video that “What a tremendous day when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed. The challenge now is not letting anybody think that it’s over. There’s still law that embeds discrimination.” DADT was the law that prevented lesbians, gays and bisexuals from serving openly in the military. It was repealed in 2010.
Army Major Bergner adds to that saying “I always fought for equality and believed in equality.”
This is the final video that they are planning to release ahead of the decision by the US Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on DOMA sometime in the next week. It is likely that they will hand down their ruling on either 19 June or 24 June, though they could end up handing down the ruling on 27 June.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson stated “America’s gay and lesbian service members are just as brave, courageous, and heroic as non-gay soldiers, yet they are still barred from sharing in the critical safety-net of protections that come with being legally married. No service member should have to worry about their family while they are risking their lives overseas. It’s time for the federal government to give gay and lesbian soldiers, their military spouses, and their families the same respect and support that non-gay soldiers receive, and strike down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.”
Reverend Allyson Robinson, an Army veteran and OS-SLDN executive director, stated “As we await the Supreme Court’s decision, we are reminded that this is not just a gay or lesbian issue. This goes to the heart of readiness, retention, and cohesion, and America’s service members and veterans – no matter what their sexual orientation – know that this is a discriminatory and harmful law that must be relegated to the dustbins of history.”
If the US Supreme Court strikes down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that forbids the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages, it would pave the way for the military to grant all marital rights to all married couples associated with the military.