Celebrate Memorial Day with our petition to support all military families
May 23, 2012
As Memorial Day approaches, Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network are working to ignite a grassroots petition that calls on Congress to end marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian service members, veterans and their families. The petition asks Congress to repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, the law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between same-sex couples, and support the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would restore the historic practice of federal respect for lawful state marriages.
The petition is part of the joint persuasian campaign Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, which aims to to share the stories of gay and lesbian service members and showcase the ways in which DOMA affects them. Last week, the campaign launched with a compelling video that illustrates the Defense of Marriage Act's real damage. The video has already been viewed more than 50,000 times.
The new petition asks supporters of the freedom to marry to take action and make their voice heard. It reads:
The so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) forces the military to treat married gay and lesbian service members and their families differently than it treats all other married service members and their families. Please end this discriminatory and unequal treatment of our service members and veterans by repealing DOMA.
Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and Executive Director of SLDN, highlighted the importance of the petition, saying, "This Memorial Day, we remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, but we must also recognize that our gay and lesbian service members and their families pay a price every day even as they serve our country - a price their straight counterparts are not required to pay. It's time to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and honor these brave patriots by treating them equally."
At the beginning of May, President Barack Obama referenced conversations with gay and lesbian service members as part of his reason for supporting same-sex couples' freedom to marry. He understands that DOMA restricts same-sex military couples from attaining a long list of federal benefits afforded to different-sex married couples, including shared health insurance, the ability to live together on military bases, morale and welfare programs, surviving spouse benefits, and the ability to be issued a military identification card.
The President has already instructed the Attorney General Eric Holder to stop defending DOMA in the courts, and he has already endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act. This new petition takes those actions one step further by focusing in on military families and asking Congress to see the damage DOMA does to them specifically.
The petition is part of Freedom to Marry's federal program, which works to repeal DOMA and show government officials, opinion-leaders and political operatives in Washington, D.C. why marriage matters. We are a leading member of the Respect for Marriage Coalition, a diverse group of organizations working to repeal DOMA through the Respect for Marriage Act. Since the Respect for Marriage Act's introduction, the number of cosponsors on the bill has increased from 18 to 32 in the Senate and from 108 to 144 in the House of Representatives.
Sign the petition and stand with Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in support of all military families.