Wednesday, August 28, 2013
VA says DOMA ruling alone not enough for it to process same-sex partner benefits now
The Washington Blade is reporting about a letter sent by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, dated Aug. 14, 2013, advising the Senate (and voting public) that the VA believes it is still bound by Title 38, United States Code which (over and above the now invalidated sections of DOMA) specifies that various survivorship benefits are allowed only for opposite-gendered spouses, specifically.
The Blade story, including a link to a PDF of the letter, is here.
The letter says that Congress should act in order to guarantee that same-sex spouses get full benefits, since it has not been told by a court that Section 38’s provision is unconstitutional. However, there are several cases in litigation which the administration will not defend.
Should the VA issue have been combined with DOMA with the original suit?