SECTION 1. Whereas, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts honors the service of its veterans, and
Whereas, veterans receive specific state-funded benefits and protections under Massachusetts General Laws, and;
Whereas, Massachusetts prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation, and;
Whereas, the Constitution of the Commonwealth recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry, and;
Whereas, the Federal government has prohibitions for those serving in the armed forces against homosexual conduct and considers the marriage of persons of the same sex grounds sufficient for discharge, and;
Whereas, all veterans in the Commonwealth deserve the same rights and benefits regardless of sexual orientation or marriage status,
SECTION 2. Section 7 of Chapter 4 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end of Clause 43 the following-
“(4) Nothing in this clause shall be construed to deny benefits to anyone discharged solely under Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice when such discharge was the result of consensual behavior between legal adult persons; or anyone discharged solely under Chapter 37 of Title 10 of the US Code, Section 654. Nor shall anything in this clause be construed to deny benefits to a same-sex spouse or beneficiary of a veteran.
The Department of Veterans’ Services shall promulgate regulations as necessary to ensure veterans discharged under the above mentioned codes, and/or same-sex spouses of veterans, may appeal their eligibility status for Chapter 115 benefits that they would otherwise be entitled to under Massachusetts General Laws and regulations.
Any veteran and/or same-sex spouse of a veteran, whose discharge is determined to be the result of consensual behavior between legal adult persons, or anyone discharged solely under Chapter 37 of Title 10 of the US Code, Section 654, shall be eligible for and receive benefits under this section.”
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