Our Incredible Evening Together at #AMPAGala2016

Our Incredible Evening Together at #AMPAGala2016

What an incredible evening we all had together at the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala, presented by USAA! Nearly 400 LGBT service members, military spouses, veterans, and allies from across the country and around the world came together in our nation’s capital to celebrate and honor our modern military families for their service and sacrifice to our nation. We can’t wait to share all of the amazing photos (they’ll be available soon), but here are a few highlights: Major General (Ret.) Jason Kamiya from USAA addresses the crowd 400 LGBT service members, military spouses, veterans, and allies from across the country and around the world Edie Windsor speaks to our modern military families Edie Windsor was one of four heroes honored with the AMPA National Equality Award Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that brought us nationwide marriage equality, speaks to the crowd Thom Kostura and Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe, plaintiffs in the Obergefell case, were honored for their role in securing nationwide marriage equality AMPA staff member Nicole Reno introduces this year’s military spouse volunteer honorees Jasmine Pollard shares how AMPA impacted her life AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack gives the “State of AMPA” address The 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala, presented by USAA AMPA was thrilled to honor Eric Fanning, President Obama’s nominee for the 22nd Secretary of Army, with the AMPA Distinguished Leadership Award Dr. Lori Hensic, AMPA Director of Research & Policy, introduces this year’s recipient of the AMPA Military Spouse Leadership Award AMPA members Brent Cox and Tyler Haugseth Laila Ireland was honored with the AMPA Military Spouse Leadership...
AMPA Joins Coalition Fighting To Save Our Military Shopping Benefits

AMPA Joins Coalition Fighting To Save Our Military Shopping Benefits

Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) joined a coalition of organizations fighting to save our military shopping benefits. The Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits (Save our Benefit) is working to protect service members and their families EARNED commissary and exchange benefits, and the critical savings they provide our military community. The coalition is united in urging Congress to reject the DoD FY 2016 budget proposal cutting $322 million in funding for commissaries. AMPA members can help take action by contacting their members of Congress and urging them to reject the commissary cuts. In a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services, our coalition states: Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members, The Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits–represents more than 2 million active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, veterans, military families, survivors, and persons with disabilities. We strongly urge Congress to reject the Department of Defense (DoD) FY 2016 budget proposal to cut $322 million in funding for commissaries along with changes to legislation that would enable these cuts. The Pentagon’s budget cuts will destroy the commissary benefit, which is cherished and valued by millions of military personnel and their families, will severely impact young families and fixed income retirees, and will eliminate much needed jobs for the military community. According to a recent RAND report, produced at the request of DoD, commissaries cost less than one percent of the overall military compensation, a miniscule portion of the overall DoD budget, saving a military family of four $4,509 annually and a single service member about...
AMPA Files Joint Brief for Missouri Marriage Equality Case

AMPA Files Joint Brief for Missouri Marriage Equality Case

Today the American Military Partner Association filed yet another joint friend of the court brief along with our partners at Outserve-SLDN, this time with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of Lawson v. Kelly, on appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. In the brief, we argue that the uneven patchwork of states providing marriage equality harms military families, undermines national security, complicates the payment of earned veterans benefits, and harms veterans. The brief, on which the law firm Chadbourne & Parke serves as counsel, urges the Court to end the discrimination caused by the lack of marriage equality by recognizing a constitutional right for people of the same sex to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. One of the most important aspects of our argument in this brief with the eighth circuit and other courts is the continued denial of full and equal benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to our legally married service members and veterans living in non-marriage equality states. The brief states: “…the VA has made clear that it will not recognize even legal marriages of same-sex couples that are perfectly valid where their marriage was celebrated if the spouses travelled to that state while living in states that do not recognize marriage equality. That couple would have to move to a state that would recognize their marriage before the VA would recognize their marriage. http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage. On August 18, 2014, AMPA filed a judicial challenge to the VA’s regulations, which is now pending in the United States Court for Appeals for the Federal Circuit. AMPA v. McDonald,...
AMPA Advocates for Marriage Equality in Puerto Rico

AMPA Advocates for Marriage Equality in Puerto Rico

With the ongoing battle for marriage equality in the courts across the nation, the American Military Partner Association filed yet another joint friend of the court brief along with our partners at Outserve-SLDN, this time with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case of Conde-Vidal v Rius-Armendariz, on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. In the brief, we argue that the uneven patchwork of states providing marriage equality harms military families, undermines national security, complicates the payment of earned veterans benefits, and harms veterans. The brief, on which the law firm Chadbourne & Parke serves as counsel, urges the Court to end the discrimination caused by the lack of marriage equality by recognizing a constitutional right for people of the same sex to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. One of the most important aspects of our argument in this brief with the first circuit and other courts is the continued denial of full and equal benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to our legally married service members and veterans living in non-marriage equality states. The brief states: “…the VA has made clear that it will not recognize even legal marriages of same-sex couples that are perfectly valid where their marriage was celebrated if the spouses travelled to that state while living in states that do not recognize marriage equality. That couple would have to move to a state that would recognize their marriage before the VA would recognize their marriage. http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage. On August 18, 2014, AMPA filed a judicial challenge to the VA’s regulations, which is now pending in the...
AMPA Files Joint Brief in Florida Marriage Equality Cases

AMPA Files Joint Brief in Florida Marriage Equality Cases

With the ongoing battle for marriage equality in the courts across the nation, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) filed yet another joint friend of the court brief along with our partners at Outserve-SLDN, this time with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the cases of Brenner v. Armstrong and Grimsley v. Armstrong, decided by a federal district court in the northern district of Florida. In the brief, we argue that the uneven patchwork of states providing marriage equality harms military families, undermines national security, complicates the payment of earned veterans benefits, and harms veterans. The brief, on which the law firm Chadbourne & Parke serves as counsel, urges the Court to end the discrimination caused by the lack of marriage equality by recognizing a constitutional right for people of the same sex to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. One of the most important aspects of our argument in this brief with the eleventh circuit and other courts is the continued denial of full and equal benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to our legally married service members and veterans living in non-marriage equality states. The brief states: “…the VA has made clear that it will not recognize even legal marriages of same-sex couples that are perfectly valid where their marriage was celebrated if the spouses travelled to that state while living in states that do not recognize marriage equality. That couple would have to move to a state that would recognize their marriage before the VA would recognize their marriage. http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage. On August 18, 2014, AMPA filed a judicial challenge to the VA’s regulations, which is now pending...