OutServe-SLDN, Freedom to Marry Mark Veterans Day with Video Spotlighting Harms of DOMA on Veterans

11/11/2012

Contact:
Angela Dallara (Freedom to Marry) at (646) 430-3925, angela@freedomtomarry.org
Zeke Stokes (OS-SLDN) at (202) 621-5406, zeke@outserve-sldn.org

(Washington, DC) – Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN today released a new online video depicting two service members - side by side, each scarred by war - treated differently by the military because one of them is gay. The video illustrates the harms of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on service members, veterans and their families. DOMA, passed in 1996, forces the military to withhold protections from married gay and lesbian service members and their families, contrary to the military’s general policy of treating personnel fairly, because under DOMA the marriages of gay couples are not respected.

“Today, we remember all who have served our nation so honorably; but we reserve a special remembrance for all those who have provided the same service, taken the same risks, and made the same sacrifices to keep us safe, yet are treated as second-class citizens by the country they are sworn to protect. The video we are releasing today depicts that stark reality painfully well,” said Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson.

Second Skin
 is the latest video installment in the Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry campaign launched earlier this year.

"This video viscerally captures the cruelty of treating gay soldiers and their families as second-class citizens under DOMA -- the psychological pain of inequality, on top of physical scars born of service to our country," said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. "With the Supreme Court likely to hear a challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Congress considering the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal it, decision-makers need to see up close the very real harms federal marriage discrimination inflicts on the families that our country should most closely protect.”

“And following an election in which voters embraced the freedom to marry like never before, members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court can have confidence that when they do the right thing, it will not only stand the test of time, but be true to where the American people already are,” Wolfson added.

OutServe-SLDN filed landmark federal litigation in October 2011 challenging DOMA and other federal laws that require the military to treat gay and lesbian military families differently, and along with Freedom to Marry and other key allies, are fighting for the repeal of DOMA on Capitol Hill.

“This is a two-front war. Together, we will continue to fight in the courts and on Capitol Hill, and we will reach a day when the families of brave gay and lesbian servicemembers and veterans are treated as equals. There cannot be two classes of service members,” said Robinson.

Freedom to Marry's federal program works to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and make the case for marriage to government officials, opinion-leaders, and political operatives in Washington, DC. Freedom to Marry and HRC lead the Respect for Marriage Coalition, a diverse group of nearly 75 organizations working together to repeal DOMA. Since the introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act, the number of cosponsors has increased from 18 to 32 in the Senate, including every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and from 108 to 157 in the House of Representatives. On October 18, 2012, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals struck down DOMA, marking the tenth federal ruling stating that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act’s gay exception is unconstitutional.

For more information on Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, visit www.freedomtomarry.org/serve.

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ABOUT FREEDOM TO MARRY: 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.

ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visitwww.outserve-sldn.org.