Maybe pictures like this will help him see better. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual military personnel had been serving our country for decades without receiving equal protection, while transgender troops are still prohibited from serving openly. While, as many speculate, marriage equality may be the law of the land come this June, there is still plenty of work to be done to truly accept and integrate all LGBT service members.
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Mitchell says he hopes this photo series will put a face to the LGBT people who tirelessly serve our country. Images such as these would have been unprecedented before December Perhaps a century from now history students will look back and commemorate the turn of the tide. Editors note: Mitchell has not yet photographed many female-identified military personnel, which is why the photos are predominantly male-identified persons.
To join Mitchell's project contact him through the Veteran Vision website. This, of course, also included military members. The Department of Defense extended benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and DoD civilian employees after the Supreme Court ruling provided the servicemember was able to provide a valid marriage certificate a recognized civil union is not sufficient for benefits; there must be a marriage certificate. While the military was quick to extend benefits to legally married servicemembers and their same-sex spouses, The Department of Veterans Affairs could only legally extend the benefits if the veteran had a legally recognized marriage certificate and resided in a state that recognized same-sex marriages due to the wording in the US Code.
The repealing of the DOMA laws permitted all military members with same-sex spouses to receive the same benefits as servicemembers with heterosexual spouses — provided they have a valid marriage certificate. The DoD also granted servicemembers non-chargeable leave if they wanted to marry a same-sex partner, but resided in a state where this was not permitted by law. Here is a quote from the DoD statement:. We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling sic to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur.
This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.
Further guidance requires servicemembers to reside at least miles or further from a state where same-sex marriage is legal. Contact your base personnel section for further guidance. Equal benefits are now available for veterans who are in a same-sex marriage, provided they have a legal marriage certificate.
Previously, the law required the veterans and spouse to have a legal marriage certificate and reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.
This was overturned in the June 26, , Supreme Court decision requiring all states to recognize same-sex marriages. Same-sex married couples now have equal rights with veterans, and are eligible to share veterans pensions, survivor benefits, VA home loans, medical coverage, burial benefits, transfers of GI Bill benefits , and same-sex spouses will count as dependents for service-connected disability compensation. Learn how to add a dependent to your VA compensation claim. The VA is in the process of drafting guidance to provide benefits to veterans and their same-sex spouses who reside in states that did not previously recognize same-sex marriages.
If you have specific questions regarding your claim, you should contact the VA or a benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization for further assistance. While this will have far-reaching social and political implications, it will also have a major financial impact on many people. In short, they were treated by the federal government and many states as unmarried couples. This treatment makes financial planning more difficult, especially when it comes to taxes, estate planning, retirement, joint property ownership, and other legal situations.
According to CNN Money, Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act opens the door to over 1, spousal benefits that were previously off-limits to same-sex couples source. Many couples file their taxes jointly. By doing so, they simplify their tax returns, and can often save money in the process.
Military & Veteran Benefits for Same-Sex Married Couples
A good example of when it is helpful is when one spouse is making more money than the other. Combining incomes for the tax return may lower the taxable income rate for the higher earner. If both couples are making too much money, they may find that they pay more in taxes.
The best way to see if you may be affected is to look at the marginal income tax rates. Correcting previous tax returns.
Some married couples are filing protective refund claims with the IRS for tax returns and estate taxes paid, going back to You should consult with a tax professional if this may apply to you. Many large companies already allow same-sex couples to be included on health insurance benefits if they meet certain criteria not all companies offer this, however, so be sure to check with your employer regarding health insurance benefits.
However, under DOMA, a same-sex partner who received health insurance benefits was required to pay income taxes on the value of the benefits received.