SLDN/OutServe launch congressional letter-writing campaign
The family members of lesbian and gay troops are taking their plea for recognition directly to Congress, in a new letter-writing campaign organized by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the group OutServe.
Called “Stories from Home” the online effort will comprise a series of open letters addressed to U-S lawmakers, and posted on the SLDN web site. Among the first three posted this week is a letter from Stephen Peters. He heads the American Military Partner Association, is the husband of a major who’s now served in the Marines for 18 years, and is a Marine veteran himself.
Peters: “Our families are first class citizens, first class military families. In fact, I would even go so far as to say we sacrifice even more because we don’t have access to the support programs, we don’t have access to all the benefits but yet we continue to serve our country. For far too long that’s gone on, and it’s far past time that that changes.”
Stephens says the Defense of Marriage Act and outdated military regulations mean that he doesn’t receive many of the benefits a heterosexual spouse gets: Big ones, like health care, survivor benefits and equal access to housing; and smaller but important ones like family support programs and access to base facilities including the PX grocery store.
SLDN director Aubrey Sarvis says the letter campaign is “yet another way… to highlight the harm done to these families, who want nothing more than to serve their country and be treated like everyone else.” The letters can be viewed—and new ones submitted—at www.sldn.org/storiesfromhome.