But less than 24 hours after arriving at the retreat, she and her spouse were told to leave. The military chaplains who organized the program last month said that the couple was making others uncomfortable. They said they had determined that under federal law the program could serve only heterosexual married couples.
Lieutenant Hardy is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage who had hoped that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 would allow her to fully participate in military life. But she and many other gay and bisexual service members say they continue to encounter a raft of rules and regulations barring them from receiving benefits and privileges routinely accorded to heterosexual service members.
Gay marriage is now legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. But because same-sex marriages are not recognized under federal law, the spouses of gay service members are barred from receiving medical and dental insurance and surviving spouse benefits and are not allowed to receive treatment in military medical facilities. Spouses are also barred from receiving military identification cards, which provide access to many community activities and services on base, including movie theaters, day care centers, gyms and commissaries.
Gay service members who are married are not permitted to receive discounted housing that is routinely provided to heterosexual married couples.
The disparities have galvanized some married service members and their spouses to fire off angry letters to members of Congress, to blog about their experiences and to demand meetings with their commanders to protest their treatment.
If RBG was on the other side of the bench, this would look like a perfect test case. Of course, Ginsburg argued in Frontiero. Interestingly, she did not receive a single question from the bench.