A Dallas veteran struggling to buy a new home says Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is affecting his loan options through the VA.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been studying options for changing the definition used for married couples, but it has not announced changes to its home loan process. That delay appears to have cost at least one same-sex couple tens of thousands of dollars.
Earl Rector and Alan Rodriguez will stay locked out of their Oak Lawn area home a little longer, paying hundreds of dollars more a month after the VA refused to guarantee their loan.
"This past Monday, we were contacted and told the VA denied our eligibility because Texas doesn't recognize our marriage," said Rector.
Rector, who served eight years in the U.S. Army, put a contract on a Reagan Street home with his spouse. After selling their previous Dallas home last month, they went to Seattle and got married.
Rector says when he went to apply for a VA loan, he was shocked.
"I earned those benefits," he said. "Why can't I use them?"
The couple could be out $50,000 over the life of the loan.
"Apparently, we're guinea pigs," said Rodriguez. "Apparently, we're early on in the process of everyone adjusting to the DOMA ruling by the Supreme Court."
Mortgage lenders agree that it's unchartered waters following the Defense of Marriage Act ruling.
The VA has a set of guidelines that appear to allow the VA to consider loan approvals for same-sex couples on a case-by-case basis, but there's still widespread confusion.
"I think the marriage act outpaced the legislation that's come out of the government as it pertains to veterans and FHA and all the other lending guidance that's out there," said mortgage lender Alan Felch.
Timing couldn't be worse for Rector and Rodriguez, though -- the higher costs will impact their retirement, and they had to scramble to find a conventional loan with a higher interest rate that will close in time.
Although they love their new home, they can't help feeling like they paid more than they had to, and they feel that's unfair.
"It's an indignity to Earl for his service to be treated this way," said Rodriguez.
Sixteen states currently allow gay marriage.
Wednesday, a federal judge in San Antonio agreed to hear a case filed by two same-sex couples seeking to overturn a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
That will take place in February.
KDFW FOX 4
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