U.S. Ceases Enforcement of Laws Banning VA Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

Gay Couples Marry At New York City Hall

There are two sections of a law that lays out benefits for U.S. veterans that the Obama administration will no longer enforce. In a rare decisions to stop enforcing enforcing federal laws, the President has directed the Executive Branch to cease enforcement of sections 101(3) and 1010(31) Title 38.

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The sections define marriage as between a man and woman and deny legally married same-sex couple Veterans Affairs benefits like health care and disability payments. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, said the decision to allow same-sex couples to apply for benefits was based on a June Supreme Court decision that shot down the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Although the Supreme Court did not directly address the constitutionality of the Title 38 provisions in Windsor, the reasoning of the opinion strongly supports the conclusion that those provisions are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment,” Holder wrote.

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The Obama administration continues to execute moves in compliance with the United States v. Windsor ruling. Earlier this year, the IRS made it known that it would treat all married couples, both same-sex and straight, the same. Prior to that, the Pentagon extended full benefits to same-sex spouses of service members and civilian employees. A federal judge ruled that to denying them those benefits, is unconstitutional.

Christopher J. Berry is an elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.theeldercarefirm.com/ or call 248.481.4000

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