Ahead of Memorial Day, Military Veterans, Service Members and Advocates Call for Equality; Release New Video Highlighting the Harms of DOMA

21 May, 2013, 14:27 ET from Respect for Marriage Coalition

Supreme Court Should Strike Down DOMA; Ensure Equal Treatment for All Service Members and their Families

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, May 22, in advance of Memorial Day, the Respect for Marriage Coalition will hold a conference call with Former Congressman, Army Captain and Iraq War Veteran Patrick Murphy, Outserve-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, American Military Partner Association Director of Family Affairs Ashley Broadway and military widow Karen Morgan to highlight the harms of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the nation's military. In advance of the press conference call, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. EDT tomorrow, Freedom to Marry and Outserve-SLDN are today releasing a new video that tells the story of military widow Karen Morgan who, because of DOMA, faces innumerable challenges following the loss of her wife and prolific advocate Charlie Morgan, to breast cancer.

While DOMA harms all married same-sex couples, it is particularly hostile to those serving in the military, where 70 percent of an active-duty service member's compensation comes in the form of benefits and allowances. Withholding such a significant portion of these benefits, which are intended to care for the spouse of a military member, inflicts significant financial burdens on military families headed by same-sex spouses.

In addition, because DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as "between one man and one woman," same-sex military couples cannot qualify for many protections available to other couples, including health care, housing assistance, primary next of kin status and survivor's benefits.

Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in United States v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. If DOMA is struck down, the Court's ruling would have an historic and monumental impact in establishing equal treatment for all service members and their families. Thirty military and defense officials and Outserve-SLDN filed briefs in the Windsor case, which was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 27.

Military officials, service members and advocacy group leaders participate in press conference call on the financial inequality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Patrick Murphy, Former Congressman, Army Captain, Iraq War Veteran and CAP Senior Fellow
Allyson Robinson, Executive Director, Outserve-SLDN
Karen Morgan, Widow of the late Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard
Ashley Broadway, Director of Family Affairs, AMPA

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
10:30 a.m. ET

The Respect for Marriage Coalition is a partnership of more than 100 civil rights, faith, health, labor, business, legal, LGBT, student, and women's organizations working together to end the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and grow support for the freedom to marry.  The Coalition is co-chaired by Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.

SOURCE Respect for Marriage Coalition