Gay and lesbian service members sue government

By the Associated Press | October 27, 2011 | 10:35 AM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — A group of married gay current and former military personnel has sued the federal government, seeking equal recognition, benefits and the same support as married heterosexual couples.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Boston says the government's Defense of Marriage Act violates their constitutional rights and asks the military to recognize their marriages.

The suit was filed by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis says gay and lesbian service members deserve the same protections as heterosexual couples because they make the same sacrifices.

Under current law, the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.