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VA can't deny health benefits to lesbian Army vet, judge rules

A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that a lesbian Army veteran and her spouse should be entitled to disability benefits given the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall said Thursday that a federal code defining a spouse as a person of the opposite sex is unconstitutional since the high court's decision allowing legally married gay couples the right to health care benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs denied an application from veteran Tracey Cooper-Harris and her spouse seeking additional money and benefits that married veterans are entitled to receive. Cooper-Harris suffers from multiple sclerosis and receives disability benefits.

She and Maggie Cooper-Harris got married in California during the brief period in 2008 when same-sex unions were legal in the state.