Because why would Congress actually do something meaningful?
When you start hearing politicians telling you “to support the troops”, you know election season is coming. Politicians LOVE talking about service men and women. Which makes sense because most voters are almost unanimous in supporting those in the military. They’re the puppies in teacups of political issues. You either support the idea or you’re an asshole.
Yet sadly, also like those puppies in teacups, once their military service is done and they become veterans, we tend to forget about them and they fall through the cracks.
Multiple instances of veterans not being taken care of after active duty has been well documented from neglect at VA hospitals to… well just Google the term “US veteran neglect” and get ready to have your Monday morning absolutely ruined.
Now if you’re asking yourself, I like to have my bad news with a tint of homophobia to create that perfect cocktail of depression, well you’re in luck!
In last Friday’s House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Nevada Democrat Representative Dina Titus introduced an amendment that would ensure same-sex couples get the same benefits as straight couples. In fact this amendment wasn’t even supposed to be that big of a deal, it was just going to update in Title 38 of the US Code which would reflect that not all “spouses” are “person(s) of the opposite sex.” The change wouldn’t have cost the government anything and after the Supreme Court ruling this summer, this was a no brainer.
OF COURSE, they’re going to add language that would include same-sex couples, it makes only sense… right?
Yeah, about that…
The amendment failed in the committee 10 to 12, with eight Democrats and two Republicans in support of the measure and 12 Republicans opposing it.
But hey, you know what, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Maybe the measure was only a symbolic gesture! After all, the courts look at same-sex couples exactly as straight couples by law. So in that case, those veteran benefits should automatically extend to their spouses. Let’s see what it says on the US Department of Veteran Affairs website.
“In light of the President’s direction, VA is no longer denying marital benefit claims because a “spouse” or a “surviving spouse” is not a person of the opposite sex. VA is working closely with the Department of Justice to develop guidance to process cases involving same-sex spousal benefits, and to implement necessary changes swiftly and smoothly in order to deliver the best services to all our nation’s Veterans. However, even as VA works to implement the President’s decision, VA recognizes that there may be certain situations in which current statutes and variations in state law may preclude VA from providing spousal benefits to same-sex married couples.”
So… in other words if the House’s Veteran’s Affair Committee would have just added that provision to Title 38 of the US Code, then all of this would have been settled. Instead many same-sex couples are STILL in this legal grey area when it comes to benefits received by the government. So how do we feel about all of this again?
Yeah that’s about right…
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Google Images)