Pentagon to Begin Issuing Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits on September 1

The Pentagon will begin issueing same-sex domestic partner benefits on September 1, the Washington Times reports:

PanettaThe dependents’ ID cards will entitle partners to scores of benefits, as outlined by then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in a February policy decision.

The ID card Web notice refers to same-sex domestic partners as “SSDPs.”

The benefits include education, survivor, commissary, travel, counseling and transportation, but not what some consider the armed forces’ premium perks — health care and housing allowances.

Mr. Panetta said the federal Defense of Marriage Act restricts those benefits to heterosexual couples, though the Pentagon has not ruled out offering them to homosexual couples at some point.

Still, the new benefits and special ID cards represent a victory for the gay rights movement in the wake of President Obama’s lifting the long-time ban on open homosexuals in the ranks.

An Army National Guard posting appeared to confirm the Washington Times report.