The VA Is Denying a Gay Dallas Veteran and His Husband Housing Benefits, Because Texas

Categories: News

Thumbnail image for GayMarriage2Grooms.jpg
In September, on the heels of the landmark Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which entitled legally married gay and lesbian couples to the same federal perks as their heterosexual counterparts, the Obama administration declared that the opinion encompassed military veteran's benefits.

So that should mean that the Veterans Affairs should count the salary of former Army Sergeant Earl Rector's husband when deciding whether to guarantee his loan for the home he is preparing to close on, right?

But no. "We found out yesterday that VA told our lender that they would not guarantee the loan" despite the fact that the couple had been pre-approved weeks ago, Rector told The Marine Times on Tuesday.

The VA apparently doesn't count the salary of same-sex spouses when considering home loans and thus won't guarantee Rector's. That means significantly higher interest rates and an extra $400 monthly payment that Rector and his husband, Alan Rodriguez, say they can't afford.

See also: Texas National Guard Will Now Give Benefits to Same Sex Couples Under "New Procedure" That May Not Exist

It's a relatively minor bureaucratic wrinkle given the military's historic position on homosexuality, but it's put Rector and Rodriguez in an awkward spot. They've already sold their Gaston Avenue home, according to property records, and they say they'll be liable for breach of contract on their new one if they can't get the financing straightened out.

And their case highlights the ongoing challenges of refitting a federal system built to exclude same-sex couples. Same with the case of the Texas National Guard, which until recently refused to comply with the Obama administration's directives.

Lambda Legal attorney Ken Upton told Lone Star Q that, while the Department of Defense has stopped enforcing Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, there is a separate statute saying that the determination of whether someone is the spouse of a veteran is made "according to the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of the marriage or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued."

Since Texas' constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is in effect, then Rodriguez wouldn't be considered Rector's spouse under the law.

Upton said "the tie to place of domicile to determine marital status has not been finally resolved."

Colorado Senator Mark Udall has called on Obama to stop enforcing that statute. That hasn't happened yet.

(h/t Lone Star Q, Dallas Voice)

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
roo_ster
roo_ster

If you need TWO incomes to qualify for the mortgage, you are buying too much house.  Besides, even after the mortgage meltdown, lenders still want to lend outrageous amounts.  The amount I qualified for with only my own income was 50% more than I intended to spend.  I can only imagine how house-poor those two dudes would be if they got what they wanted.

pak152
pak152

a key fact is missing from the story. In which state was the couple legally married?

John1073
John1073

All the federal government needs to do is make the same decision for the VA that they've made for IRS purposes. If you are married you are married in the eyes of the federal government. State law be damned. I do not understand why that is so hard.

This man gave his life to the US Army. It is the least we can do to treat a veteran fairly.

JackJett
JackJett

It comes down to all men being created equal. I know very little about this sort of law and am not fully understanding the article. 


Yet as long as what they are being denied would also be denied a married heterosexual couple, then I have no problem with it.


Yet if this couple would have been allowed different benefits if they were a married heterosexual couple, then that is discrimination no matter how you slice or dice it. 


I often wonder where people get the concept of gays wanting SPECIAL rights when it has always been the SAME rights.  Sometimes you really don't need to understand the convoluted intricacies of an issue to determine if they are fair or not.  If all men are created equal that all issues will be resolved equally. 


That said, what is a "nattering naybob"?   

LaKeesha
LaKeesha

VA doesn't recognise sword fighting in general!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Eric, you nattering naybob ...


This has nothing to do with same sex marriage and everything to do with state law concerning the so called marital estate.


A marital estate is established in Texas when a marriage license is issued (and under certain other circumstances, but let's keep this simple.).


In the marital estate, each member of the marriage is bound by law for the debts of the marital estate.


Thus for a heterosexual couple, the income of both partners may be considered when an application is made for credit.  Both partners agree to be individually responsible for the full amount of credit extended.


Under Texas law, no such marital estate exists for same sex partners.


In your article, you fail to mention how Mr. Rector and Mr. Rodriguez completed their mortgage application with the  VA.  If they signed a contract to purchase the new house without having financing in place, or without a contract to purchase contingent upon obtaining financing, they are, IMHO, just plain naive.


As to the upcoming comments about my being anti-gay, I assure you that I am not.  If anything, I firmly believe that gay couples should have the opportunity to be just as miserable in marriage as the rest of us.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Texas has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the VA approves the loan guarantee, you even stated it in your article.

TexMarine
TexMarine

What does this have to to with Texas, other than Texas being the current place of residence? The VA doesn't take its orders from Austin.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"Nattering naybob" is a partial quote of what the VP Spiro Agnew said at a press conference shortly before his resignation.  He called the assembled media reporters "nattering naybobs of negativism".  As the foreman in "Blazing Saddles" would say of Hedley Lamar, "You use your tongue purtier than a ten dollar whore".


The question here is that actually the marital estate is a privilege that is extended by the state to certain persons.  The core of the current debate is to whom should this privilege be extended.


A similar situation exists for renters.  When renting to an unmarrried couple, the land lord will seek to have only one party liable for the full rent, not that one party is liable for half and the other party is liable for the other half.  It is the same situation in this case.  If both were to sign for the mortgage, it is my understanding that each would only be liable for half of the mortgage as they would be classified as joint tenants in common.


I still stand by my concluding opinion that this couple was a bit naive in this circumstance.  As much as they might wish to consider themselves married, unfortunately the state does not extend that privilege to them.


To get that changed will require a change in state law.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@JackJett "That said, what is a "nattering naybob"? 


a dude who uses a little to much teeth for the liking while "bobing" ?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Do not both spouses sign the note and mortgage?  If so, would not ordinary contracts law protect the lender?

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@TexMarine I think the problem is also related to how federal benefits are treated in states that do not recognize same sex marriages.  For example, per the IRS, a same sex married couple does not receive the full tax credit on Cafe 125 plan benefits in they live in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.  They only receive tax benefits for the employee only or employee & children only portions.  This is the fallout from the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

JackJett
JackJett

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul   I think you made my point. I have been with the same man for 24 years now.  We pay the same, if not more taxes that other Texans, and American citizens.  Yet we are not given the SAME rights.  The laws are changing and I believe that the State I was born in will someday see that we are ALL CREATED EQUAL.  Perhaps not during my lifetime.  A due entirely on religious beliefs that should have NO place in what becomes a law. 


Yet to call someone "naïve" because our State does not extend the SAME "privilege" to them is your view.  While mine is that the State is naïve in not seeing them as equal. 


I think you can be comfortable that your opinion will continue to be the status quo.  Progress takes time.  And gay Texan's are just as persistent and stubborn as straight Texan's.   An American is an American.  A Texan is a Texan no matter how hard Robert Jeffress et al attempt to convince us otherwise. 



JackJett
JackJett

@ScottsMerkin @JackJett Scott...if done in moderation, it can be awesome...like saying someone sucks. 

Thanks for the insight.  I learn something everyday here at UP. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

One definition of nabob is an Anglo - Indian term referring to an East India Company servant who became wealthy through corrupt trade or other practices.


One definition of nattering is to talk casually especially about unimportant matters.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Agnew was a bigger crook than his boss, Richard Nixon, and was an extremely divisive figure on the Right during the Viet Nam War.  He had a penchant for alliterative terms referring to Liberals and Anti-War protesters.  In addition to Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, he was known for such gems as "Pusillanimous Pussyfooters", "Vicars of Vacillation", and "Hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of History".

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Yes, both spouses sign the note and mortgage.  It is my understanding that each are jointly and severably liable for the payment of the note.  This is part of the privilege extended to the marital estate.


Conceivably, ordinary contracts law might work, if there is an agreement from both partners that each will be liable for the full amount of the note and mortgage; and, the lender is willing to accept the agreement.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

You're reading too much into this.  The VA only guarantees the mortgage loan, it doesn't issue the loan.  The VA loan guarantee is an individual entitlement earned by soldiers who complete their contracted duties and receive an honorable discharge.  

I'm not exactly certain how the VA is justifying their denial.  While in the service, married to another veteran, I qualified and used my VA loan guarantee to purchase a home, then later we used my wife's VA loan guarantee to purchase another home.  We owned both homes concurrently, and in each case, only the income of the spouse invoking the entitlement was used to determine eligibility.

I can't understand why if it is an individually earned entitlement, why it isn't up to the individual who earned it on how to use it.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Are not both partners jointly and severally liable?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...