The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing the federal government on behalf of a disabled lesbian veteran and her partner.
Tracey Cooper-Harris served her country for 12 years in the U.S. Army. She received more than two dozen medals and commendations. She was honorably discharged in 2003. In 2010, Cooper-Harris was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disabling disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system. The Department of Veterans Affairs denied Cooper-Harris’ request for benefits for her partner, even though their same-sex marriage was recognized by California. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cooper-Harris and her partner, charging that the Department of Veterans Affairs discriminated against them by denying these benefits but granting them to spouses in heterosexual marriages. It also charges the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it bans federal agencies from recognizing such same-sex marriages, denying these couples benefits available to couples in heterosexual marriages