Heroes of the LGBT community: Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell
For their roles in securing military and veterans benefits for LGBT military spouses and their families, Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell will be honored at the 3rd Annual American Military Partner Association (AMPA) National Gala this May 7.
The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC, on Capitol Hill. Also to be honored are Thom Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe, members of the AMPA who were one of the dozens of plaintiffs in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.
The plaintiffs: Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell
The 85-year-old Edie Windsor was the lead plaintiff in United States v. Windsor, going up against the United States Supreme Court.
Windsor had made history in 2010 after challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which banned the federal recognition of same-sex marriages and the benefits they were entitled to.
Since its abolition, 37 states now recognize and protect same-sex marriage.
Despite this, too many barriers still existed for LGBT military and veteran couples. One was the non-recognition of legal marriages of same-sex couples for the purpose of veterans benefits.
Before, many of them had to go to other states to get married, only to come back home to a state that denied them recognition. This was due to a governing statute in the Veterans Administration (VA) that placed the state of residency above the place of marriage when looking at married couples.
This discrimination had also ended thanks to Jim Obergefell– plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges– who fought for the constitutional right to marriage equality for same-sex couples throughout the entire country.
Thanks to the determination of Obergefell and the other plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory state laws, the court’s historic decision led to the VA to fully recognize same-sex marriages of veterans.
Moreover, the VA granted access to veterans the full range of benefits they earned serving the country.
Honoring Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell
“Edie Windsor, Jim Obergefell, and the other plaintiffs who stood up to challenge discriminatory marriage laws have changed the lives of LGBT military families forever,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack.
The AMPA is the nation’s largest non-profit organization for LGBT military families. The annual gala honors modern military families for their service and sacrifice and is attended by hundreds of service members, veterans, spouses, and their allies as the biggest LGBT military event of the year.
“Because of their bravery and willingness to fight injustice and discrimination, the same-sex spouses of LGBT service members and veterans finally have access to the crucial help they need and deserve from the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs,” Broadway-Mack said.
“We are proud to honor both Edie and Jim at the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala with the AMPA National Equality Award,” the AMPA head said of Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell.