American security relies heavily on the cooperation of the U.S. armed services, the U.S. Department of Defense, and private contractors, but not all of them are afforded basic employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
More than 1 million service members and veterans could benefit from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other common-sense measures to prevent workplace discrimination.
If passed into law, ENDA could significantly curtail high rates of veteran unemployment.
Although the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, anti-gay, activist governors still refuse to treat same-sex military spouses equally at National Guard installations.
Even after the fall of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, LGBT service members and veterans continue to face discrimination.
As the Supreme Court considers overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, it must take into account the ways the law harms our men and women in uniform and undermines our military readiness.
Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex military spouses are not eligible for nearly 100 spousal benefits freely available to other military spouses. This inequality harms our military families and weakens our entire force.
By preventing the military from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex military couples, the Defense of Marriage Act contradicts numerous military initiatives.
While the anticipated Pentagon announcement that it will extend some benefits to same-sex military spouses is progress, anything less than complete access to these benefits leaves the mission unaccomplished.
Last year’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a significant step forward for equality in the U.S. military, but change is needed to ensure gay and transgender veterans receive the heath care they deserve.