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 United States Court for Appeals for the Federal Circuit. AMPA v. McDonald, No. 14-7121 (Fed. Cir. 2014)”
In addition to our federal lawsuit, AMPA v. McDonald, this is the 13th joint brief filed with various courts by AMPA and our partners. You can read the entire brief here, as well as our past briefs with various courts on our Resources Page.
AMPA is proud to be leading the nation in education, advocacy, and support for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America’s LGBT service members and veterans.