Fast Change

Pentagon May Give Gay Military Personnel Time Off To Get Married

Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its DOMA ruling, the Pentagon announced that it would determine how to implement policies to recognize same-sex military couples. Now we have a good idea of what the policies will look like. According to a document obtained by Associated Press, the military will extend full benefits to same-sex couples in housing, health care and other benefits – but only if the couples are married. To ensure that they are, the military will provide up to 10 days of leave so the couple can travel to a state where marriage equality is legal.

In other words, the Pentagon is promoting marriage equality by requiring it for benefits. Previously, in recognition that marriage equality is limited to 13 states, the Pentagon had floated the idea that couples could file a declaration of their relationship. Now the Pentagon not only will insist you have a valid marriage certificate, it will give you time off to go to a state where you can get it.

“As the Supreme Court’s ruling has made it possible for same-sex couples to marry and be afforded all benefits available to any military spouse and family, I have determined, consistent with the unanimous advice of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the spousal and family benefits far outweigh the benefits that could be extended under a declaration system,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in the draft document.

The document isn’t yet final, but it’s a good indication of where the Pentagon is likely to wind up. As a reminder if how fast the military has changed: two years ago Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in effect.

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  • Military

    I don’t understand why DoD hasn’t given benefits to same-sex spouses already. The law and DoD Instructions mandate benefits to spouses (all spouses, equally). I know they have to update the DEERS database, but since when does DoD hurt their members and families because of computer problems. At this point they are violating the law and their own policies. They need to find a temporary solution to grant these lawful benefits until DEERS is updated. The DOMA repeal was no surprise…they should have been ready.

    — DoD INST 1330.17, Armed Services Commissary Operations, lists “lawful spouse” as an authorized patron.
    — DoD INST 1330.21, Armed Services Exchange Regulations, lists “lawful spouse” as an authorized patron.
    — DoD INST 1015.10, Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Programs, lists “uniformed services members and their family members” as authorized to unlimited use of all MWR programs.
    — 10 U.S.C. 1072 defines dependent as “the spouse” of a member of the Armed Services.
    — 10 U.S.C. 1076 states that a dependent is entitled to the medical and dental care described in section 1077.
    — 10 U.S.C. 1077 lists the services that may be provided to dependents at a uniformed services medical facility.

  • susansylvester

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