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Very happy to see Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH) keep up the fight on this issue:

A New Hampshire senator vowed Tuesday to press ahead on legislation to provide full veterans benefits to same-sex couples after the Veterans Affairs Department determined changes in law are required to ensure all couples are treated the same.

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee already has passed the measure, S 373, but had been waiting to hear from VA about whether the legislation was even necessary to provide equal benefits to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the chief sponsor of bill, said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki wrote her on Aug. 14 to say VA and the Justice Department had determined changes in law were required.

Some provisions of law involving veterans benefits define “spouse” and “surviving spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex,” Shinseki said in the letter. “Under these provisions, a same-sex marriage recognized by a state would not confer spousal status for purposes of eligibility for VA benefits,” he said. - Navy Times, 8/27/13

Here's a little more background info:

Shaheen’s bill is called the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, named for National Guard chief warrant officer who died earlier this year, leaving behind a wife, Karen, and a daughter who were not eligible for survivor benefits. There is a similar House bill, HR 683, sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Smith’s bill is pending before the armed services subcommittee on military personnel.

Shaheen’s measure was approved July 24 by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee but the measure has not yet been cleared for floor debate in the full Senate. One holdup is that the Congressional Budget Office has not yet prepared a cost estimate for the bill, which will increase VA expenses for disability and survivors benefits.

The bill would consider a person a spouse for the purpose of receiving military and benefits as long as the couple’s marriage was legal. This would apply to couples married in the U.S. or to marriages outside the U.S. that are recognized as valid within the U.S. - Air Force Times, 8/27/13

Shaheen's been pushing the Charlie Morgan Act for a while now:

Shaheen, along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced the The Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act earlier this year. The bill would ensure same-sex veteran couples received the same benefits as opposite-sex veteran couples.

“We need to pass the Charlie Morgan Act to bring Department of Veterans Affairs benefits policy in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down DOMA. I’m committed to making this happen,” Shaheen said Tuesday in a statement. “Every individual who serves in uniform deserves access to the benefits that they’ve earned and rightfully deserve. We can’t tolerate this type of discrimination, especially in the aftermath of a historic Supreme Court ruling that declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.”

The Defense Department will extend spousal and family benefits to same-sex spouses by September 3. - Raw Story, 8/27/13

Lord knows we need to get the Charlie Morgan Act approved now more than ever.  Please call your Senator and Congressman and tell them to pass the Charlie Morgan Act:



And while you're add it, how about thanking Shaheen for continuing to fight for equality in our military by donating to her 2014 re-election campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Kos Community, Take New Hampshire Forward!, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Milk Men And Women, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DrillSgtK, kyril, Pam Bennett

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:30:13 PM PDT

  •  I hate seeing photos of innapropiate uniform wear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That top photo is just wrong.  It has been modified with unauthorized add ons, has the wrong US Army tape, the US Flag is backwards as well as the wrong color.

    This is disrespectful of the uniform and those who volunteer to wear it.  

    I know it is likely a stock photo, but there are so many other photos of Soldiers in Proper uniform that could be used.  This kind of disrespect turns off those who would give their full support.  Instead they cringe and stop giving the message full confidants.  "If you can't get a simple thing like uniform wear right what else are you not getting right?" Will run through the mind.

    Oh and the collar is not worn up unless you have on your IOTV.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:45:01 PM PDT

    •  Check the picture now and let me know if it's an (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      appropriate one.  Never meant to offend anyone but I could use some input.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:48:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Both of those Sailors are in proper uniform (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and I do love that you picked Sailors. And women. Neither is a common choice.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:12:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks! Would you mind Tipping & Reccing? Would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          like to get some more attention from the community on this and I don't want the wrong pic to ruin that.  But only Tip & Rec it if you want to, I won't be offended if you don't.

          Funny Stuff at

          by poopdogcomedy on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:17:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Better :-) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No one ever intends to offend, most of the time it is due to not knowing.  Which is one of the many reasons I urge those on the left to serve.

        I would even argue that the current photo makes an even better point, it looks natural, non-staged, and even "normal".  (As in common, not out of ordinary)

        The uniform becomes a symbol of your service, something that sets you apart but joins you as a member of a special group.  Not a perfect group, but getting better.

        Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

        by DrillSgtK on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:38:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  House R's (0+ / 0-)

    Any bill that has to do with people of color, women and LGBT has to pass the House.  Unless there is some kind of backroom deal happening the straight forward bill will not make it.  Pelosi was working on a different way of proceeding that did not involve single bills for the VA and Social Security.  I do not know the status of her bill.

    Pam Bennett -6.95 -7.50

    by Pam Bennett on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:51:18 AM PDT

  •  New Update (0+ / 0-)

    A Federal judge has ordered the VA to provide spouse benefits to a disabled veteran.  That should get somebody moving.

    Pam Bennett -6.95 -7.50

    by Pam Bennett on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:42:08 AM PDT

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