Titus Statement on House Veterans Vote Against Equality for All Veterans

Sep 17, 2015
Press Release

September 17, 2015         
Contact: Mike Naft
Phone: (702) 220-9823
Titus Statement on House Veterans Vote Against Equality for All Veterans
Washington, DC – Today Dina Titus, Representative of Nevada’s First Congressional District, offered an amendment to a veterans’ benefits bill to ensure that the nation’s laws reflect the interpretation by the United States Supreme Court (United States v. Windsor; Obergefell v. Hodges) recognizing federal benefits for same-sex, married veterans and their spouses. The amendment, based on the bipartisan H.R. 1598, the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, simply updates Title 38 of the United States Code to reflect that not all “spouses” are “person(s) of the opposite sex.”
“Our veterans and their families deserve better from the leadership of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee,” said Representative Titus, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs. “Today’s vote is a slap in the face of the thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers who lay their lives on the line in defense of this nation, and for their loved ones who support them at home. I want to thank Rep. Coffman and Rep. Costello, and my Democratic colleagues who did the right thing and supported this commonsense effort to modernize the outdated language found in the U.S. Code. As federal representatives and as members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, we have a responsibility to care for our nation’s veterans and their families, gay or straight. Today we had an opportunity to put this issue behind us and move forward to concentrate on the many challenges facing our nation’s veterans. Rest assured I will not back down in this fight for equality. There are those who continue to stand in the way of progress; but remember, the arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice.”
The Titus Amendment to an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 677, failed with 8 Democrats and 2 Republicans voting in support, 12 Republicans opposed, and a disappointingly present vote from the Ranking Member, Rep. Corrine Brown. The Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act sponsored by Rep. Titus has 50 cosponsors, including 7 Republicans. On September 10, 2014, Rep. Titus introduced the same amendment in the House Veterans Affairs Committee. That amendment failed on a vote of 12-13.