The Pentagon has announced that it will grant spousal benefits to same-sex married couples, formalizing the proposal that was first publicly floated just last week.
In a memorandum sent to the heads of each of the military branches, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that “it is now the Department’s policy to treat all married couples equally.” Benefits for spouses of married couples include medical coverage, housing and base services.
Under the policy, the Pentagon will recognize the marriage even for personnel stationed in states or countries that do not, or, in Pentagonese, “all marriages that are valid in the place of celebration.” Personnel who want to get married will be given leave “for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur.” Benefits apply retroactively to the date of the Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA, June 26.
Hagel ends the memo by noting the Pentagon’s commitment to “ensuring that all men and women who serve our country and their families are treated fairly and equally. Expeditious implementation of the decisions announced in this memorandum will help the Department remain true to that commitment.”
In other words, no dragging your feet.