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...
Why is the Defense Department Excluding LGB Troops From Non-Discrimination Policy?

Why is the Defense Department Excluding LGB Troops From Non-Discrimination Policy?

Today, the American Military Partner Association once again publicly called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to include “sexual orientation” in the non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program which the DoD is currently revising. According to sources involved with the program, current revisions under way may continue to exclude “sexual orientation.” While every other department of the federal government has added sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policies, over three years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the DoD has not updated its policy or equal opportunity program to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation for uniformed troops. “Because the military takes pride in sustaining a culture free of discrimination where all who serve are treated with dignity and respect, the Defense Department should recognize that including sexual orientation as part of the non-discrimination policy is the next step toward full inclusion,” said Ashley Broadway, AMPA’s Director of Family Readiness and spouse of a U.S. Army officer. “We have thousands of service members and their families who for years were discriminated against under the threat of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, and while they can now serve openly and honestly, the Defense Department continues to exclude them in their non-discrimination policy – the very place they need protection.” “It’s perplexing why protection from discrimination for our gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops in any newly updated policy would not be included,” added Dr. Lori Hensic, AMPA’s Director of Research & Policy and spouse of a U.S. Marine Corps officer. “These are protections that the Defense Department guarantees for civilian employees, why not for our brave men and women who put their...