Lesbian Soldier Caught Up in DOMA Red Tape

A Michigan woman raising her child with her partner said the Army won't let her reenlist due to the military's own policies on child custody butting up against laws barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples.
By: Michelle Garcia
August 04 2011 3:48 PM

A Michigan woman raising her child with her partner said the Army won't let her reenlist due to the military's own policies on child custody butting up against laws barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples.

Jessica Lohmeier, who served in the Army Reserves for two years, had a boy in 2009. She told WILX News that after raising James with her partner Lauren Russell for two years, she is ready to reenlist. However, the military requires that all parents with full custody of their children, like Lohmeier, show a marriage license as proof that a spouse will be able to take care of the child if the enlisted parent is assigned overseas. The policy states that the military may not "enlist an unmarried individual with a child under 18," according to the report.

But because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, there is no form of recognition for their relationship, even if they were to wed or enter a domestic partnership or civil union in another state.

"Of course I am going to take care of him," Russell said. "That's my job as a second parent. We are a three-person family. I love her like my wife, and James as my son."

Lohmeier said she would go as far to legally marry a man just to be able to rejoin the Army.

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