In Wake of Trump’s So-Called “Religious Liberty” Executive Order, Titus Introduces LGBT Veteran Protection Legislation

May 11, 2017
Press Release

May 11, 2017

Washington, DC – Today Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, bipartisan legislation that modernizes the United States Code to ensure equal access to Veterans Administration benefits and services for all veterans and their spouses. This introduction follows leaked executive orders from the Trump Administration that targeted the LGBTQ community and same-sex couples and the President’s order directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to issue federal guidance “interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law.”

“President Trump has a lengthy history of belittling and bullying others, so it should come as no surprise that he would try to hide his prejudices behind the shield of the First Amendment,” said Rep. Dina Titus. “Religious freedom must never be used as a means to discriminate against our families, friends, coworkers, and those who have served in our military. The Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act ensures that those who wore the uniform of our armed services and their spouses will always have access to the rights and benefits they earned and deserve.” 



The Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act first introduced by Congresswoman Titus in 2013, updates the U.S. Code governing the Department of Veterans Affairs in regards to the definition of “spouse.” Landmark Supreme Court decisions (United States v. Windsor; Obergefell v. Hodges) guaranteed access to federal benefits and marriage equality for the LGBTQ community and same-sex couples; yet the language in Title 38 of the U.S. Code continues to define a veteran’s spouse as “a person of the opposite sex.” The Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act simply updates the language found in current law.

Congresswoman Titus is a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus and an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, legislation that amends federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, Federal jury service, public accommodations, and the use of Federal funds.