Navy veteran wants his marriage to be protected in Washington

Pablo Monroy served in the U.S. Navy under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy that banned open service for gays and lesbians, and during that time, he had to hide his relationship with the man he loved. Now that the policy is repealed, Pablo, a first-generation American who serves in the Army National Guard, is planning on getting married to his partner.

In a new video from Washington United for Marriage, the coalition of organizations working to uphold the freedom to marry in the state, Pablo shares the story of how he proposed to his partner - how he got down on one knee and asked, with the full support of both men's families, for his hand in marriage. 

The couple lives in Washington, where the state legislature and governor passed the freedom to marry for all couples in February. Now, however, anti-gay activists are working to push a ballot initiative in November that asks Washington residents to vote on whether the marriage law should be upheld. Pablo and his partner, like many couples in the state, want to share in the love and commitment of marriage, so they want voters in the state to approve Referendum 74 in November and uphold the law.

"Regardless of whatever happens, we're going to have each other," Pablo says in the video. "But we're just hoping to have that protected by law, and have that just be like all of our neighbors - a married, happy couple."

If Washington residents uphold the freedom to marry in their state, Pablo and his partner will be able to legally marry. But in spite of this, their relationship faces an additional roadblock: the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

As a servicemember, DOMA will prevent Pablo and his partner from receiving many of the protections that different-sex married couples have. This list of more than 1,100 protections includes access to joint military housing, the opportunity to take leave to care for a spouse, Social Security survivor benefits, and equal treatment under U.S. immigration law.

Since May, Freedom to Marry has been partnering with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to highlight the specific struggles that DOMA causes for gay and lesbian service members and their families. Couples like Pablo and his partner should not have their marriage treated like a second-class marriage. Freedom to Marry wants to live in a country where brave service members like Pablo receive the same protections and respect that all different-sex married couples receive.

To stand with Pablo and his family, you can sign our "Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry" petition and tell Congress that you don't want same-sex couples to be treated differently under the law.