VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HEARS SHAHEEN’S TESTIMONY ON CHARLIE MORGAN ACT

Veterans of Foreign Wars Announces Support of Bill to End Discrimination Against Same-Sex Military Couples

May 13, 2015

(WASHGINTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs today heard testimony from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) who made the case for the Charlie Morgan Equal Treatment Act, legislation extending veterans benefits to same-sex couples and their families regardless of where they live. During the committee hearing, Aleks MoroskyDeputy Legislative Director, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), announced his organization’s support for the bill.

Video of Senator Shaheen’s testimony before the committee is available here.

Video of Aleks Morosky’s testimony before the committee on VFW’s support is available here.

The legislation is named after the late New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan who passed away in 2013 after a battle with breast cancer; after her passing, Morgan’s wife and daughter were initially ineligible to receive certain survivor benefits until the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. To this day, families in states where same-sex marriages are not recognized remain ineligible for certain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

According to the Justice Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is unable to grant comprehensive benefits to same-sex couples in states that do not recognize such legal marriages. The Charlie Morgan Act would address this lingering inequality by altering the definition of marriage in Title 38 to ensure that all veterans receive the federal benefits they’ve earned, regardless of their state of residency. 

In March, the United States Senate voted in favor of a motion ending a discriminatory statute that limits Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits for same-sex couples by a vote of (57-43).

The text of the bill can be found here.