As the United States celebrates and commemorates the strong men and women dedicated to serving our country on Memorial Day, LGB citizens serving in the military are faced with the conflict inherent in serving openly as LGB after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" while fighting for a country that now allows them to serve openly, but still refuses to acknowledge their relationships.
Last week, Outserve-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson was joined by Iraq War Veteran and former congressman Patrick Murphy, as well as military widow Karen Morgan and American Military Partner Association Director of Family Affairs Ashley Broadway, to bring attention to the harms still being done to servicemembers with same-sex partners.
"The harms of DOMA aren't abstract—they are real tangible injustices that hurt children and their parents," said former Congressman Patrick Murphy. "For those serving our country, equality delayed is equality denied. The same benefits and opportunities should be available to every service member and their family."
Watch Karen tell her story here:
The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010 was a huge leap forward for the LGB community. Today, servicemembers are free to be with a person of the same gender, or simply be open about who they really are without fear of discharge based on sexual orientation.
But LGB military service members and their families, still are not given the same benefits and rights as their straight counterparts, even with the repeal of DADT. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman for the purposes of the federal government, LGB military spouses are not eligible for nearly 100 spousal benefits freely available to other straight military spouses. This includes benefits like health care, Military Family Housing and notification in case of an emergency or disaster.
The movement for open service has not stopped, with trans people who want to serve their country still not technically allowed to. But even the end of DADT has not solved all of the problems facing gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers.