Senate Rejects Same-Sex Benefits For Veterans In Non-Marriage Equality States
An amendment failed in the Senate on Thursday that would have ensured veterans in same-sex marriages have access to certain spousal benefits wherever they live, although eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the measure. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the measure — which is along the lines of her standalone legislation known as the Charlie Morgan Act — on the floor of the Senate during debate on the fiscal year 2016 defense authorization bill. The vote on the measure was 53-42, which was short of the 60-vote requirement needed for passage. U.S. code for veterans benefits looks to the state of residence, not the state of celebration, to determine whether a couple is married.The issue, of course, may be moot very soon.
The eight Republicans who voted for the Shaheen amendment are: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Rob Portman (Ohio). Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who are pursuing the Republican nomination to run for the White House in 2016, voted against the amendment. Not casting a vote were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who are also seeking the Republican nomination. In a statement after the vote, Shaheen vowed to continue the fight to ensure veterans in same-sex marriages have access to spousal benefits wherever they live.