A new congressional bill, HR 6046, or the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012 (MSET), would change the definition of “spouse” to enable same-sex partners of military personnel and veterans to obtain essential benefits, including insurance, housing allowances and survivor benefits.
“The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell exposes certain inequalities between similarly situated couples in the military community,” said Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson. “This troubles many of our leaders,” said Johnson. Introduced by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), the bill would affect Titles 10, 32 and 38 to the U.S. Code challenged in the Service Members Legal Defense Network’s lawsuit, McLaughlin v. U.S.
“Our nation’s senior military leaders and commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support and benefits for our nation’s service members – one for straight service members and a different one for their gay and lesbian peers,” said SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis. “There cannot be two classes of service members, and this legislation addresses that effectively.”
We might have won the battle over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but it’s clear the war is far from over.