LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that a discrimination lawsuit filed by a Pasadena U.S. Army veteran whose spouse was denied military benefits can move forward, court papers obtained today show.
Tracey Cooper-Harris, an Iraq War veteran who served in the Army for 12 years, alleges a violation of her constitutional rights, because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs denied benefits to her partner, even though their same-sex marriage was recognized by California.
U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall on Monday rejected a motion from the Department of Justice to dismiss the case on the grounds that such claims should be heard by a Veterans Affairs administrative appeals board rather than a district judge.
Marshall said she would issue her written ruling at a later date.
A call for comment to a VA spokesman in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned.
Cooper-Harris of Pasadena received more than two dozen medals and commendations and was honorably discharged in 2003. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago, according to the complaint filed in February 2012 in Los Angeles federal court.
In the complaint, Cooper-Harris contends that the VA discriminated against the couple by denying them benefits but granting them to spouses in heterosexual marriages.
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