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SLDN, Freedom to Marry Join Forces in New Campaign

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Two LGBT advocacy groups are joining forces to combat the federal Defense of Marriage Act and its effect on gay military families.

Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced their latest campaign titled ‘Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry’ on Wednesday. The two organizations released a new online video to coincide with the launch.

The roughly three-minute clip outlines the struggles that LGBT troops and their loved ones face because of the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Despite the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ gay servicemembers and their spouses do NOT receive the same military benefits afforded to straight couples.

SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis says ALL people–especially military personnel–should be treated equally under the law. But he says that won’t happen until the government provides the nearly 1100 federal protections currently denied to LGBT families because of DOMA.

SARVIS: Here are these brave patriots who are fighting for us, defending our freedoms around the world, and yet the reality is, they are still being treated in some very important ways as second-class citizens when they come home.

SLDN has already filed suit against the federal government on behalf of eight married gay and lesbian servicemembers seeking military benefits for their spouses. House Republicans say they will intervene in the case now that the Obama administration has dropped defense of DOMA in court.

Sarvis notes that President Obama cited the plight of LGBT troops as one of the reasons he now supports full marriage equality.

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