Widower of gay Marine shown respect by Naval Academy, thanks to marriage
February 01, 2011
John Fliszar, who served two tours as a Marine pilot in Vietnam, died last year after suffering his second heart attack. John married Mark Ketterson in Iowa two years ago, and after his first heart attack told him that he wanted his ashes interred at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
When Mark contacted the Academy about John's wishes, he says that at first officials were skeptical. But after he sent them a copy of their marriage license, he was treated as next of kin – from the military funeral service to an announcement in the USNA alumni magazine. Would the same have happened if the couple had a civil union rather than a marriage license? Probably not.
Even with the coming end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Pentagon says legally married spouses of currently serving gay military members won't be eligible for health benefits or base housing available to married straight couples. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act prohibits federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples even when they’ve been legally married.
Ending federal marriage discrimination is one of the tracks of Freedom to Marry’s Roadmap to Victory.
You can read more about John and Mark's story here.