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DOMA Stories:
Federal Marriage Discrimination Hurts Families

GLAD is in court challenging the federal government's discrimination against legally married same-sex couples. In Gill v OPM and Pedersen v OPM, we represent couples and widowers who are harmed in various ways by DOMA. But DOMA hurts many more people than we can represent in these lawsuits.

In these stories, loving couples, widows and widowers, from all walks of life, describe how DOMA hurts their families.

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DOMA Has Limited Our Choices and Affected Our Kids

Photograph of Nancy Gill & Marcelle Letourneau

Nancy Gill & Marcelle Letourneau

Nancy and Marcelle grew up in the same Brockton, Massachusetts neighborhood, within two blocks of each other. Together as a couple for nearly 30 years, they were legally married in 2004.
“After 24 years together, we were so happy to get married,” says Nancy, who has been a postal worker—the lady behind the counter—for 22 years. “But we were shocked when the government refused when I applied for benefits for Marcelle.”

The couple is raising two kids—their teenage daughter was born after what Nancy and Marcelle call their “16-year honeymoon,” followed by their 10-year-old son – and Nancy has a family health plan through work. But, she says, “Because the federal government discriminates against our marriage, I can’t add Marcelle to the family health plan I already pay for through my job. It is a slap in the face to not be able to use our correct legal status, and it is a reminder that the very government I work for, the country our taxes help support, does not even recognize us as a couple.”

“In a very real way, DOMA limits our choices about how we run our family life,” says Marcelle. “It changed our life plan. At the time we married, we were planning for me to be a stay-at-home parent for several years – to give all of us, and especially our children, a break from the juggling of balancing their needs with our two jobs. We had no idea that I wouldn’t be covered by Nancy’s health plan. I have had to remain in the workforce in order to have access to health insurance.”

“DOMA has limited our choices and affected our kids.”

Nancy and Marcelle are the lead plaintiffs in GLAD’s legal challenge to DOMA. On May 6, they will have their day in court at the first federal hearing in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. Read more about their story.

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