Judge refuses to toss gay Calif. veteran's lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that a lawsuit brought by a lesbian Army veteran and her wife over the denial of disability benefits can move forward over the objections of the Department of Justice.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall refused Monday to dismiss Tracey Cooper-Harris' challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to two other laws that make same-sex spouses of military veterans ineligible for benefits available to straight spouses.

Although the Justice Department under President Obama is refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, the department had asked for the case to be tossed out on the grounds that veterans' claims can only be heard by a special veterans' court.

Cooper-Harris suffers from multiple sclerosis. The Department of Veterans Affairs has denied her application for additional money and disability benefits that married veterans are entitled to receive.

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