May 26, 2014 by Hayley Miller, HRC Digital Media Associate
Last Sunday Tracy Dice Johnson, a staff sergeant with the Army National Guard, announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would recognize her marriage to the late Donna Johnson and provide survivor benefits. The American Military Partners Association explained that the VA will pay Dice Johnson survivor benefits retroactively to October 2012, the month when her wife, Donna Johnson, passed away.
Donna Johnson died in a suicide bombing attack in October 2012, eight months before the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The decision has allowed all legally married same-sex couples to receive equal federal benefits.
American Military Partners Association president Stephen Peters said the decision was a “major breakthrough for our gay and lesbian veterans and their spouses trying to gain access to their earned benefits” in an interview with the Washington Post.