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Court battle looms over veterans' benefits for same-sex couples

The issue of recognizing same-sex marriages is one that seems to be plaguing many aspects of life in Texas. A recent lawsuit filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs seeks to have veterans benefits made available to same-sex spouses in the states that don't recognize these unions. Texas is one of those states.

In June of last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the section in the Defense of Marriage Act pertaining to the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman was invalid. From then on, an almost constant battle has been waged between those who are for same-sex marriage rights and government entities that are interpreting laws in a variety of manners.

The VA says that they are bound by a portion of the law that stipulates that the department must consider the state laws in the state in which the married couples live when awarding VA benefits. Supporters of same-sex marriage benefits say that where the couples live shouldn't matter. In fact, federal courts in Texas and some other states listed in the lawsuit have ruled that same-sex marriage bans aren't legal.

For couples in a same-sex marriage seeking benefits while living in Texas, the battle might seem like an uphill battle. It is important, however, for those individuals to realize how various laws might affect them so they can ensure that their rights are protected as this matter goes through the courts. Knowing your rights and the laws might help you to obtain home loan guarantees, death pensions, disability compensation and other benefits that are afforded to military spouses.

Source: MetroWeekly, "Federal lawsuit seeks veteran benefits for same-sex spouses" Justin Snow, Aug. 19, 2014

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