EAST GRANBY, Conn. (WTNH)-- It has been seven weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the same sex marriage case. Yet same-sex married veterans here in Connecticut are still being denied spousal benefits.
160 members of the Connecticut Army National Guard came home from Afghanistan Thursday. They and their spouses are entitled to full military benefits and when they leave the service, they and their spouses will be eligible for veteran's benefits.
Just Wednesday, the Department of Defense stated that same sex active military couples will now also be eligible for the same benefits as heterosexual couples because of the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Forty-seven-year-old Carmen Cardona of Norwich is a disabled 18 year veteran of the Navy, but she has been barred from receiving spousal benefits from the Veteran's Administration.
Barred because she married another woman, not a man.
"I am here because I want to be treated the same as everybody else who is married, whether heterosexual or gay," said Cardona.
Even though the U.S. military has moved to fix this injustice, the Veteran's Administration appears to be foot dragging on it.
"The Veteran's Administration should immediately, without any hesitation recognize that same sex spouses married to veterans are entitled to equal benefits," said Sen. Dick Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.
The head of the Veteran's Administration, General Eric Shinseki's office says Carmen's request has been denied because a federal Veteran's Administration statute still defines a spouse as a person of the opposite sex.
"The Supreme Court has held that DOMA is unconstitutional and for this reason the Veteran's statute should also be unconstitutional," said Jennifer McTiernan, Yale Law School Veterans Clinic.
"I love the military, I love serving my country. This is America of the free and I want to feel free," said Cardona.
DOMA is the now ruled unconstitutional 'Defense of Marriage Act' that said marriage was only between a man and a woman.
The Yale Law School Veteran's Clinic has taken Carmen's case to court.
Senator Blumenthal and several other senators are urging the President and the Attorney General to order the head of the Veteran's Administration to ignore that part of the statute and do the same thing the Department of Defense has done.
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