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Volume 7 - Number 15

July 18, 2014

VA Clarifies Impact of Same-Sex Marriage Policy

Same-sex couples are entitled to veteran benefits, including home loan guaranty, if their marriage is recognized by the state where they live or where they lived when they filed a claim for benefits – and not where the marriage took place.The VA made the clarification in the wake of guidance the agency issued regarding the benefits and services same-sex married couples are entitled to under current laws and regulation. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Windsor, struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which governs the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” for all federal agencies, because it was unconstitutional. The court held that the provision deprives a person of the right to equal liberty, which is protected by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Prior to the SCOTUS opinion, DOMA defined “marriage” as a ...

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