Lesbian Veteran Sues Govt. for Equal Marriage Benefits
BY Michelle Garcia
October 13 2011 3:02 PM ET
A disabled Navy veteran whose request to expand her benefits after marrying her wife was denied is now challenging the constitutionality of the law preventing the federal government from recognizing her marriage.
Carmen Cardona and her wife wed last year, but when she applied to increase her monthly disability payment — a typical request for married people on disability — the Department of Veterans Affairs denied the request because Cardona's spouse is a woman.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, is a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and partnerships, as well as her Fifth Amendment right to due process, the The New York Times reports.
Cardona is being represented by Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic. On the government's side, the Obama administration had directed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA earlier this year. However, according to the report, most cases involving the veterans' court are argued by lawyers from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, most of the judges in that court were appointed by President George W. Bush.
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