This soldier and his new husband deserve to have their marriage respected

They may not have had an enormous service with a huge wedding party flanking either side of an alter, but Paul and David, the couple featured in this video that was published on YouTube yesterday, are a legally married couple. The men and some of their supporters made a three-hour trek to Iowa in order to receive a legal civil marriage.

The officiant of the ceremony acknowledged how frustrating it is that every state in the country does not allow the freedom to marry. He said:

I'm very proud to live in a state that honors the rights of everybody to love and be loved. It's too bad that not every state grants you that right.  

Although Paul and David's marriage is legal in Iowa and other states that recognize marriages between same-sex couples, the fact that Paul is a service member complicates the protections that the government affords to their relationship. Because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the law that defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, same-sex couples are denied over 1,100 benefits that different-sex couples receive. These protections include 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. This week as part of our "Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry" campaign, we heard the story of Army Captain Stephen Hill and his husband Joshua Snyder, who married last year in Washington, D.C. Josh and Steve spoke out about the protections that they are not afforded because of DOMA. Watch that video here.

Couples like Josh & Steve and Paul & David should not have their marriages treated like second-class marriages. Freedom to Marry wants to live in a country where these brave service members and their families receive the same protections and respect that all different-sex married couples receive.

Sign our Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry petition HERE to stand with Josh & Steve, Paul & David, and thousands of couples like them who are treated differently under the law.