Gay military veterans are clear winners from Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.
With the federal Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional and California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage soon to go away, those who live in California will be eligible for benefits that other veterans get, including being buried next to their spouses in national cemeteries.
As I wrote about in April, gay veterans in California are plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits on the issue. The two couples were among the estimated 18,000 who married in California between the time the state Supreme Court recognized gay marriage and Prop. 8 passed.
Like DOMA, federal law and Department of Veterans Affairs policy define a spouse as being of the opposite gender, restricting the benefits available to same-sex couples. Gay vets who return to active duty can't transfer their GI Bill educational benefits to their spouse. If a gay veteran dies, their spouse isn't eligible for survivor benefits.
Also like DOMA, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the law on veterans benefits, but House Republicans took up the cause.
The lawsuits had been put on hold until the Supreme Court ruled; now the federal judges will presumably follow the high court's lead.