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Court decision has wide impact for some veterans

By Kevin Freking

Associated Press

Published: Friday, June 28 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Joan Darrah, right, who served nearly 30 years in the Navy and lived through the Sept. 11 attack of the Pentagon, and her spouse, Lynne Kennedy, pose for a photo at their home in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, June 27, 2013. Just two years ago, gays were prevented from openly serving in the military. Now, with the Supreme Court ruling, same-sex spouses of gay veterans and service members will be able to share in their benefits.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Just two years ago, gays and lesbians were prevented from serving openly in the military. Soon, they'll be able to share a wide range of veterans' benefits with their same-sex spouses.

The Supreme Court this week said married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples who had wed.

Same-sex spouses of military veterans now will be able to get help with college tuition and be buried in a national cemetery.

Veterans in same-sex marriages also will see an increase in their monthly disability payments, amounting to several thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

Members of Congress are waiting for a report from the Veterans Affairs Department on when and how same-sex couples can access their benefits.

It's not clear whether legislation will be needed.

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