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    Posted January 22, 2013 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    Fight, Bleed, Die - Equality? No


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     k3vsDad told me, 'Having served in the military when it was not permitted to be me, seeing the policy changed to the better now, having been discriminated against most of my life, with the literal scars and bruises for just being alive as a gay male, while I found the mention of gays and Stonewall refreshing, it does not change the reality. As a gay American, I am still not on equal footing with straight Americans. As a gay American, I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of pretty sounding words when there is still discrimination taking place due to DOMA. DOMA affects every person who is GLBT. We are, by the law, relegated to a place of 2nd class citizenship. We need the president to lead, not just in words, but in action.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    We  are in a new era or so we are told. It was evident during Monday's  inaugural speech by President Barack Obama accepting the trust of the US  of A for a second term. The President made history by use of the term  "gay" twice during his address to the nation. He also placed the  Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York City, reputed to be the start of the  gay rights movement, on the same footing with the civil rights  milestones of Seneca Falls for women's rights and the Selma March for  African-American rights.

    Yet,  as historic and how flourishing the rhetoric, which placed the fight by  the GLBT for equality in America by the President on the front page, it  does not match up to the reality on the ground.

    Out  military service members may now openly fight in wars and battles  deemed in the national interest. Out members may now bleed to uphold and  protect the Constitution of the United States. Out gay and lesbian  military personel may die to ensure our freedoms guaranteed under the  Bill of Rights. But when it comes to legal same-gender spouses having  the same rights, benefits and privileges as those of opposite-gender  spouses, the military and Department of Defense says, "No."

    Yes,  thanks to President Obama, unlike when I was in the Air Force, men and  women no longer have to keep their sexuality in the "closet".  Being out  and proud is no longer an impediment to service to the nation. But, as  many news reports attest in the last week and lawsuits filed in federal  court over the last year, equality is still not a reality for out  service members and their legal same-gender spouses.

    Unlike  opposite-gender spouses, same-gender spouses cannot recieve a military  identification card. Same-gender spouses are denied medical benefits and  cannot seek treatment at military hospitals. Same-gender couples cannot  receive housing allowances offered to opposite-gender couples. From  medical benefits, access to clubs and associations, base commissary  privileges and so much more, these are denied to the loved ones who are  legally wed same-gender spouses.

    The  Army cites that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not provide  for an exception for sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination  statute. The Marine Corps by contrast, when it comes to clubs and  associations, is pressing those civilian, but military support  organizations, to open the doors to same-gender spouses if those  associations want to continue to meet and operate on base.

    The Department of Defense has come out in defense of the Army's stand.

    While  the President talks about acceptance and furtherance of equality for  same-gender couples, he has not proposed legislation to change the UCMJ.  The President has not sent any guidance to the DOD to allow or provide  for equality of same-gender spouses.

    Talk is fine, but it is action that matters.

    The  President's Administration has dropped defending the 1996 Defense of  Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. But at the same time, the President has  not sent legislation to Congress to repeal DOMA. The President continues  to allow his departments to discriminate against same-gender couples  across the nation even in states where same-gender couples enjoy legal  status.

    The  Supreme Court in March will take on DOMA. How the Court rules may  either advance equality or will push the fight for equality back for a  decade or more.

    It  is time for more than just lofty speeches. It is time for action to  ensure that all Americans are treated equally and fairly under the law.

    From  the Cornfield, while I still believe whether to grant legal status to  same-gender and opposite-gender couples falls under states rights and  authority, the federal government has no business denying equality  especially after a state has granted that equality. It is time for a lot  less talk and a lot more action from President Obama on the federal  level and especially with same-gender military spouses.

    If  our out military members can fight, bleed and die for our country,  their loved ones, those spouses keeping the home fires burning deserve  to be treated equally under the law.



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