Titus' Symbolic Gay Rights Crusade

Jun 10, 2016
In The News

Nearly a year after the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples have the right to marry, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus of Las Vegas is still trying to tie up some unfinished business. And her Republican colleagues are still voting no.

Although the Obama administration has extended federal benefits to the spouses of veterans, regardless of their sexual preference, Titus wants to change the wording in the federal code to eliminate references indicating spouses must be of the opposite sex.

Republicans don’t want to go there. 

Titus’s amendment to a bill (HR 4782) providing a cost-of-living adjustment for veterans benefits was defeated in a 4-3 vote of the Veterans Affairs Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee last month. GOP Rep. Ryan A. Costello, a freshman who represents the Philadelphia suburbs, joined panel Democrats in voting for the amendment.

“The VA supports this, the Supreme Court handed down a decision, the Department of Defense recognized it and so this would just take out antiquated language that refers to a spouse as someone of the opposite gender,” Titus says. “We are just simply saying: ‘Make the law consistent with what the reality is.’ ”

Republicans were happy with their symbolic victory anyway. Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Abraham, a Louisiana Republican, said he opposed the adoption of the amendment because it would “jeopardize the passage of the bill,” which otherwise had bipartisan support.