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H.R. 2421: Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 11, 2017 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. R. 2421


May 11, 2017

(for herself, Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Curbelo of Florida, Ms. DelBene, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Norton, Mr. O'Rourke, Ms. Slaughter, Mr. Takano, Mr. Walz, Mr. Swalwell of California, Mr. Rush, Ms. Tsongas, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Pingree, Mr. Coffman, Mrs. Lowey, Mr. Perlmutter, and Mr. Peters) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


To amend title 38, United States Code, to amend the definition of the term spouse to recognize new State definitions of such term for the purpose of the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act.


Definition of spouse for purposes of veteran benefits to reflect new State definitions of spouse



Section 101 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—


in paragraph (3), by striking of the opposite sex; and


in paragraph (31), by striking of the opposite sex who is a wife or husband and inserting in a marriage recognized under section 103 of this title.



Subsection (c) of section 103 of such title is amended to read as follows:


For the purposes of all laws administered by the Secretary, the Secretary shall recognize a marriage based on the law of the State where the marriage occurred. In the case of a marriage that occurred outside a State, the Secretary shall recognize the marriage if the marriage was lawful in the place where it occurred and could have been entered into under the laws of any State. Except in the case of a purported marriage deemed valid under subsection (a), the Secretary may not recognize more than one marriage for any person at the same time.


In this subsection, the term State has the meaning given that the term in section 101(20) of this title, except that such term also includes the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.