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US District Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled on Thursday that army veteran Tracey Cooper-Harris, who is married to another woman, was entitled to the same spousal benefits as any opposite-sex marriage.
The news follows a ruling by the US Supreme Court in June that invalidated the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit filed last year against the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) centers around the provision governing military benefits that defines marriage as only an opposite-sex marriage. Refering to the inclusion of these benefits as a strategy to recruit more members to the armed forces, Marshall wrote, “The denial of benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages is not rationally related to any of these military purposes.”
The VA, where marriage is still defined as solely between a man and a woman, will be forced to recognize same-sex marriage following Marshall’s ruling, NBC News reports.