The Brunstad Family
Dear Members of Congress,
My husband is Master Sergeant David Brunstad, and he is in the Air National Guard. He has served his country for a total of 17 years, including 8 years of active duty in the Army Infantry. As a National Guardsman he also has a full-time civilian career, but proudly steps up to the plate when duty calls. In 2009 he deployed to Iraq, where he was tasked with base defense.
As soon as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) was repealed, my husband added my name on every form he was able but was distressed to find out that he could still not list me as his next of kin - even though we were legally married in the State of New Hampshire. We have been together for 19 years now, and he deserves to have the peace of mind that I would be informed should something happen to him.
One month after DADT repeal, my husband came out at his promotion ceremony, and I was sitting in the front row. He introduced me as his husband to the 70 or so people in the room. We were scared of how people might react, but it turned out to be a non-issue. I have now had the honor of getting to know the brave men and women on base that David serves with. Almost universally, his straight counterparts don't understand why I can't get the same base access and benefits that their spouses have - they thought all that "went away" with DADT repeal.
I ask you this: If the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms want to welcome me into their military family, just who is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) trying to protect?
His fellow airmen - and also base leadership - are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with a two tier system that treats their lesbian and gay counterparts differently. If and when my husband deploys again, DOMA will preclude me from any official base outreach afforded to the other military families regardless of the fact that those very families wish to have me included.
But the thing that bothers me the most is that my husband would have to worry that his family is not being taken care of while he is away. This is a burden no service member should have to bear when putting their life on the line for their country.
With great respect,