As the Supreme Court prepares to review the Defense of Marriage Act, gay marriage advocates are focusing attention on the way they say the law dishonors gay members of the military and their spouses.
Because federal law defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, spouses of gay service members are denied survivor payments, plots in cemeteries, base housing and a host of other benefits that have been available to opposite-sex military couples for generations.
Another example is the death of Army Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, who was killed in a bombing in Afghanistan. When it came time to inform the next of kin, casualty officers did not go to her widow's door in North Carolina. Nor did her widow receive the flag that draped the casket.