Bill Introduced in House to Extend Protections to Married Gay and Lesbian Service Members



Press Contact:

Angela Dallara

Communications Associate


Washington, DC – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-WA), the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, introduced a bill to clarify and extend the definition of “spouse” to same-sex couples in areas of the U.S. Code related to recognition, support, and protections for married service members and veterans. 


Below is a statement from Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry:


“With ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ off the books, most Americans think our troops are serving freely and fairly alongside each other, but this is not the case. Federal law still discriminates against married gay and lesbian service members, veterans, and their families by denying them crucial protections and creating two classes of service members in our armed forces. This legislation would bridge the gap in our military and treat gay and lesbian service members, who are rendering the same sacrifices and taking the same risks, with fairness, dignity, and respect. It is a specific and necessary step to ensure protection of married gay and lesbian members in our armed forces and a crucial step towards fairness for all loving and committed same-sex couples in America. Freedom to Marry applauds Representative Smith’s leadership in introducing this legislation and will continue working with our partners at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to ensure passage of this necessary bill.”


The legislation would affect Titles 10, 32, 37, and 38 of the U.S. Code, which determine eligibility for equal recognition, support, and protections for military spouses. The bill contains the same language as that of the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ends federal marriage discrimination for same-sex couples.

Freedom to Marry has partnered with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) in a joint campaign called “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry” to highlight the ways in which military families are harmed by the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities of marriage.


Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.