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Pentagon Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses

Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, the Pentagon announced that it would move to quickly extend all benefits given to opposite sex spouses to same-sex couples including medical, dental and housing allowances.

Defense officials also said that same sex spouses would have the same rights to be buried alongside war veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The Department of Defense, will move very swiftly, expeditiously, on implementing the law, the decision of the Supreme Court,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “We think it’s the right decision, and we’re looking forward to taking that decision and implementing the required next steps.”

The Pentagon also said within six to 12 weeks same-sex spouses will be give official identification cards that will entitle them to equal access to military bases, child care programs, military commissaries, gyms and other facilities open to military families.

One issue that could take longer to resolve is overseas tours. In some countries, like Germany and Japan, military service members are allowed to bring spouses with them. Defense officials said they are going to have to review local laws and bilateral military protection agreements with all countries before allowing same-sex spouses to accompany service members.

A defense official said the intent is to ensure equal treatment of same-sex spouses, but the department must ensure that gay family members have the same protections when travelling overseas.

Officials said they couldn’t immediately say how much equalizing benefits will cost the department.

“The Joint Chiefs have been very clear that we’ll follow the law of the land, and the law of the land has just changed, and we will now as quickly as possible assess what that means,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I’m sure there will be some cost, but we’ll figure it out because we’ll follow the law of the land.”

by Anonymousreply 806/26/2013

I think I actually just heard some Freeper heads explode.

by Anonymousreply 106/26/2013

[bold] Statement by Secretary Hagel on DOMA Ruling [/bold]

The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses -- regardless of sexual orientation -- as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.

Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.

by Anonymousreply 206/26/2013

I wouldn't give this organization much cred. They are just trying to prevent a class action law suit - at the very last minute I might add.

by Anonymousreply 306/26/2013

Still, R3, you gotta admit it's heartening to witness.

by Anonymousreply 406/26/2013

No R4. It is not an act of respect for the Gay community, it is an act of survival. The Pentagon equates this with eating insects to stay alive.

by Anonymousreply 506/26/2013

Tell me something, R3...WHY did these announcements of support and desire to comply come just hours after the supreme court decision. Hillary (and Obama) had been actively moving the State Department in that direction for at least the past year. If this was just lip service, wouldn't the announcement come weeks from now and be a half-assed statement that they would simply comply? I, for one, am impressed.

by Anonymousreply 606/26/2013

Good on Chuck Hagel. That's a sincere compliment. He promised Kirsten Gillibrand that he was committed to fully implementing the DADT repeal at his confirmation hearings, and he's kept his word.

And yes, it will cost the government extra money. And I'm glad to pay my taxes because of it.

by Anonymousreply 706/26/2013

R3/R5, I'm just curious, did you expect that with this decision, every organization that now must comply would have a fruit basket waiting for you? Who cares whether they're happy or not - the law is the LAW.

by Anonymousreply 806/26/2013
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