The Peters-Mackay Family
August 15, 2012
My husband serves this country honorably and proudly in the United States Marine Corps. With over eighteen years of service, he has sacrificed so much in defense of our great nation. Yet despite his multiple deployments overseas, his continued dedication to service, and the fact he places his life on the line for our freedom, he is treated as a second-class service member. I also have proudly served our nation as a Marine, and yet, I am treated as a second-class veteran. In short, our family and those like us are treated as if somehow we don’t matter.
After over five years of commitment to one another, we were married in the state of New York this past Christmas. Despite this, the federal government does not recognize our marriage thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, which purports that somehow only heterosexual families deserve the rights, responsibilities, and benefits that come with marriage. Simply put, because I am not a woman, the federal government discriminates against our family, denying us the same support and benefits that come with military service.
This inequality is clear. For example, even though we are legally married, the military denies me access to the same healthcare my heterosexual counterparts receive. While I am thankful to currently have a job that does provide health insurance, every time we are called to move to a new duty station, I have to quit my job and lose coverage, hoping to find a job and coverage soon wherever our new duty station may be. While my family has been fortunate so far, many other gay military families suffer greatly because of this discrimination based solely on the fact that we are not the opposite gender of our spouse.
Our families are also denied the ability to take advantage of the numerous support services and benefits that are designed to help deal with the rigors of military life. I am denied access to base facilities, family readiness programs, and even the right to be recognized as his spouse if there is a family emergency or something were to happen to him. During deployments, these problems are only made worse because I can’t even get on base to the services I supposedly do have access to now.
How can this inequality continue? I plead with you to take a stand for our families. We are first-class military families who for far too long have served our country in silence with no access to care, support, and benefits. There is no rational reason we should continue to be treated as second-class military families and citizens. Please stand up for those who put their lives on the line for you.
President, the American Military Partner Association