Sestak, Murphy join in urging end to DOMA

    Two former congressmen from the region helped launch a report arguing the Defense of Marriage Act inflicts a burden on military families headed by gay couples.

    Pennsylvania Democrats Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy, both military veterans, lent their names to the report.

    While the Pentagon has given same-sex military partners some access to military benefits, it can’t offer full assistance as long as DOMA is law.

    Alyson Robinson, executive director of the group Outserve, grew up in Scranton and worked on the report. She says despite the repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, gay members of the military have a long way to go before they share the same benefits as straight service men and women.

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    “It’s not commonly known among civilians, but on average 70 percent of an active duty service member’s compensation comes in the forms of benefits and allowances,” Robinson said. “So withholding such a significant portion of these benefits, which are meant to care for the spouse and family of a service member, inflicts significant financial burden on families that are headed by same-sex couples.”

    The report, prepared by OutServe-SLDN and the Center for American Progress, is an effort to help convince the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA when it hears arguments against the law next week.


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