WATCH: Gay Marine Capt. and Fiancé Explain DOMA Damage
A new video from OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network profiles a gay marine captain and his soon-to-be-husband for the organization's ongoing "Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry" campaign in partnership with Freedom to Marry.
Capt. Matthew Phelps and his soon-to-be-husband, Ben Schock, made headlines last December when they became the first same-sex couple to get engaged at the White House. Now the couple is going on record about how the so-called Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against their relationship, which they'll make legal in Washington state this spring.
"There seems to be a contradiction between serving my country and my country not fully supporting my relationship with Ben," Phelps says in the video. "Every day, I’m reminded that my marriage to Ben is different from everybody else’s marriage, and it’s just not right."
Phelps and Schock plan to marry in Seattle in May, after which point Phelps will be transferred to Japan, reports San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. But because DOMA prohibits the government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages, Schock will not be allowed to join his husband in on-base housing, as straight spouses are permitted to do when their partner serves.
"As much as military leaders at all levels may wish to treat the troops under their command with equity, they are forced by federal law to discriminate," said Allyson Robinson, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, in a statement. "As a result, gay and lesbian service members are denied access to critical benefits and meaningful support programs the services provides to help families face the unique challenges of military life. This denial weakens the force itself."
Watch the video below.