Lawmaker Backs Spousal Benefits for Military Gays

WASHINGTON - A Democratic congressman wants same-sex benefits for spouses of veterans and service members.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington is top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Smith is introducing legislation to make the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments recognize any marriage that has been recognized by a state, the District of Columbia, commonwealths or territories.

His bill would change the definition of spouse in the U.S. code to include same-sex marriages.

Gay marriage is now legal in the District of Columbia and six states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

Smith says spouses of service members should not be barred from receiving benefits because they are in same-sex marriages.

Gays now serve openly in the military.

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