Gay Marriage | Gay Rights | LGBT Rights | Military | News

BREAKING - Pentagon To Extend New Benefits To Same-Sex Partners

Chuck Hagel
Since the end of both DOMA and DADT, eyes have been glued to the Pentagon, waiting for a definitive answer as to what sort of benefits it will start extending and to which same-sex couples. Thanks to a senior official who spoke with NBC News, we now have the official word, and it should prove exciting to LGBT service members across the nation. 

"The Pentagon plans to extend to legally married same-sex couples the same privileges and programs that are provided to legally married heterosexual couples, including benefits tied to health care and housing, the official said."

Good news, certainly, but what about those gay service members not living in a state that permits marriage equality? Luckily, there's more good news for them.

"In addition, the official said that service members who are stationed in one of the 37 states where same-sex marriage is illegal will be offered up to 10 days of leave so they can travel to one of the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that grant same-sex marriage licenses."

Thus, if you're a service member looking to pop the question to your same-sex partner, you're set to be covered no matter where you're stationed. But the good news still doesn't stop there. According to the official, these same-sex partner benefits could begin as early as September 3rd. 

Us-military-GAY-pride-paradeThe Pentagon has yet to make the official announcement, but plans to do so later today. Previously, the Pentagon had planned to require same-sex couples to sign a declaration in order to obtain their partner benefits. According to NBC, that policy was promptly changed after the Supreme Court gutted DOMA. 

LGBT military advocates are calling this new announcement a "good faith effort" by the U.S. Military. Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, said to The Guardian:

"To require our service members to travel to one of 13 marriage equality states showcases the inequality our families still face and the importance for marriage equality in all 50 states. In the meantime, it is unrealistic to ask a junior enlisted member to pay out of pocket to fly from Hawaii or Texas in order to provide for his or her family."

UPDATED: The official memos have been released. You can view them AFTER THE JUMP...

Extending Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of Military Members

Extending Benefits Page 2

Further Guidance on Extending Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of Military M...
Further guidance page 2


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  1. Some good news. If you have issue with the military, that's your opinion, but they have done an outstanding job with the only real problem we still face - stigma.
    Ending gay stigma is the name of the game.

    Posted by: Anthony | Aug 14, 2013 11:54:20 AM

  2. Indeed good news for Service Members. I'll say it again, in David Mixer's words, "Elections Make A Difference." I will add to that -- determined activism.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Aug 14, 2013 12:07:54 PM

  3. And cue the asshats complaining about the 10-day leave as "special rights" for gays in 5...4...3...2...

    Posted by: Dback | Aug 14, 2013 12:27:19 PM

  4. You're right, DBACK. However, any complaints from the asshats about "special rights" for gay service members will be because they are the ones creating this situation. DUH!

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Aug 14, 2013 12:46:34 PM

  5. Yay, the hired killers among us get to be just as equal as the other hired killers.

    As the nation becomes increasingly militarized, and the concepts of liberty, freedom and privacy continue to erode, we can all take some solace in being considered slightly more "equal".

    The military's job isn't to protect us, it's to do the dirty work for the corporate elite that run everything, and force their will down the throats of every other nation in the world.

    As this de-evolution relentlessly continues, the same old tired fags post here about their concerns of how the religious nutbags are going to react to our latest equality "news".

    I accuse. I accuse you all of being deluded, clueless, pawns in a game that has nothing to do with "equality" at all.

    Posted by: Diatribed | Aug 14, 2013 1:39:05 PM

  6. Excellent news. And it sets a good precedent for honoring the marriages of all gay couples, regardless of where they're posted or where they live. A Republican administration would no doubt be fighting it--though with their preferred SCOTUS picks, the change wouldn't have happened at all.

    @DBACK: On non-gay sites they already are talking about discrimination against heterosexuals--surprise!--ignoring the fact that if gay couples could get married in any state, as heterosexual couples can, there would be no need for the "special" leave. Easy solution to that: marriage equality in 50 states.

    @DIATRIBED: You don't like the military. Yep, we get it. Your accusations are empty, however.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 14, 2013 1:53:05 PM

  7. Will heterosexual couples be offered the same 10 days leave?

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 14, 2013 2:05:41 PM

  8. This is not "breaking" news. This is like TWO-DAY old news.

    Posted by: Break Back Mountin' | Aug 14, 2013 2:15:06 PM

  9. With Obama, Kerry and Hagel, LGBT folks and all those who favor equality sure do have good friends in very high places.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 14, 2013 2:26:58 PM

  10. Hallelujah! This is wonderful.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 14, 2013 2:45:51 PM

  11. The American government is finally supporting our heroes who support our freedom. Thank you to all the gay and heterosexual servicemembers out there who give your life protecting us.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 14, 2013 2:48:03 PM

  12. I AM genuinely happy for those who are already or can easily get married, but let's not let the balloons and confetti drop blind us to the reality of the situation for many others. What happened to "leave no one behind"? The DOD claims it "remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs" yet they're ARBITRARILY breaking their February PROMISE of "fairness and equal treatment" to those SSDPs that are no more financially able now to travel to a marriage jurisdiction than they were in February. How are they suddenly any less brothers and sisters in arms? How are their years of sacrifice in uniform and that of their devoted partners which the Pentagon PRAISED in February suddenly irrelevant? Non-chargeable leave does NOT create an "equal playing field" for anyone stationed in the majority of the world where same sex marriage remains verboten. I’ve yet to read of any of the many civilian companies in states which ban marriage who have provided benefits to their gay employees’ domestic partners for years suddenly saying, “Sorry, you just have to go somewhere and get married now.”

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Aug 14, 2013 2:48:21 PM

  13. CGD, You wrote, 'Will heterosexual couples be offered the same 10 days leave?'. Actually, heterosexual couples are already allowed to get legally married in all 50 states. So, they do not need to have 10 days leave to travel and have their marriages legally recognized. Once marriage is finally legalized nationwide, the leave will no longer be needed.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 14, 2013 2:51:36 PM

  14. DIATRIBED - enjoying writing your hilariously ridiculous rants from your Mom's basement, do you? The fact that no one from the government is there to cart you off to jail (or worse) for speaking out against the government is due entirely to those citizen soldiers you ignorantly refer to as "hired killers." For the fact that you are able to write your screed, you should thank your teachers. For the fact that you are able to write your screed in English, you should thank a soldier.

    CGD - rightly, no. They can walk out the gate of any US military base or post in the world and easily marry. Gay and lesbian service members do not have that option...especially those assigned in the majority of the country yet to evolve.

    BREAK BACK MOUNTIN' - the story of this leaked a few days ago, but the final version of the authorization from the Secretary of Defense was only release today at 11:30.

    Posted by: Todd | Aug 14, 2013 3:07:20 PM

  15. @CGD - And just to add to what DB wrote, gay couples living in a marriage equality state won't be eligible either.

    imho - How gay military spouses are treated in non-equality states could have impact on Section 2 of DOMA finally falling. For example, will non-equality states like Texas, which offers extended unemployment benefits to "trailing spouses" of military personnel who move there because their military partner was transferred, be able to deny those benefits even though the military (federal government) recognizes the marriage? And on another note, back in 2009, the U.S. Congress passed the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) giving trailing spouses immediate access to all kinds of state benefits and services by granting them immediate residency in the state they had to move to. This could get interesting where gay couples are concerned.

    Posted by: Rexfrod | Aug 14, 2013 3:24:22 PM

  16. Will same-sex civilian employees of DoD be offered the same benefits?

    Who's footing the extra expense?

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 14, 2013 3:28:20 PM

  17. Will same-sex civilian employees of DoD be offered the same benefits?

    Who's footing the extra expense?

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 14, 2013 3:28:21 PM

  18. Ten days seems a bit much, 3 should suffice.

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 14, 2013 3:29:12 PM

  19. "J'accuse", "J'accuse" Emile Zola lives! Oh no its just DIATRIBE pretending to be a leftist militant. Maybe on Halloween he can get an Emile Zola costume and impress a few nerdy pretend militant friends. My thanks go out to the men and women, straight and gay who proudly wear their country's uniforms and protect America, and further the cause of freedom around the world.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 14, 2013 3:30:36 PM

  20. "Ten days seems a bit much, 3 should suffice."

    You seem stuck on the tiny leave component, @CGD. As others have said, as soon as gay couples can marry anywhere in the U.S., just like straight couples, then get rid of the leave component. Easy fix. And given the history and cost of discrimination against gay servicemembers, married and un-married, a few days of leave, and the expense of that, is a microscopic drop in the bucket, especially in comparison to all the benefits straight couples have accumulated over the years at our expense. If money is the issue, don't look at gay military. They're owed bigtime.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 14, 2013 4:37:59 PM

  21. What we also need to realize is that these couples are a) going to be forced to travel (aka spend money) to marry, and b) reside in a state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage (most military bases). So the 10 day leave w/out pay is to just somewhat level the playing field. It's still not 100% equality. The couples who traveled in their leave time beforehand to marry won't be reimbursed. But the Pentagon values their LGB troops and wants to treat them as equal as possible under our current laws in the US.

    Good for them. Good for Chuck Hagel. And best of all, great for same-sex military spouses. They're not truly apart of the military family.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 14, 2013 4:51:00 PM

  22. :-)

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 14, 2013 4:56:01 PM

  23. ""Ten days seems a bit much, 3 should suffice."

    You have to travel. You have to have or make an appointment for a license. In some states, there is a waiting period until you can marry. You have to have the ceremony. You have to return.

    DC has a five day waiting period for a license. Iowa, Washington and Massachusetts have a 3 day wait.

    If you read the policy, people stationed within the continental US get a maximum of 7 days, not 10.

    10 days only applies to those stationed outside the continental US. That means this policy is going to cover servicemembers who are traveling from overseas, not just hop across a state border. If you're deployed on a ship, getting home is not a matter of driving to the closest airport.

    Getting back to the US, arranging a wedding, having a wedding, and getting back to an overseas duty station, all in 10 days, is hardly excessive. Doable, but not even generous.

    Posted by: Lymis | Aug 14, 2013 5:00:30 PM

  24. Rexfrod: You sound like you know what you are talking about. Anyway, is seemed obvious to even an amateur like me (and Rachel Maddow and I suppose everyone else) that the Supreme Court decision just set up a situation where there would be a thousand problems cropping up, and an equal number of lawsuits, until the whole anti-marriage equality thing finally crumbles. I'm sure that the military, being one thing with its own sort of territories in every state not to mention foreign countries and moving people around from place to place at will would have all kinds of extra problems of its own.

    It's great that Hagel - working for the President as Commander in Chief - has been pretty proactive on all of this. Seriously, who woulda thought, just a couple of years ago...

    Posted by: emjayay | Aug 14, 2013 6:10:44 PM

  25. @CGD - You have to read the actual policy. The 10 days only applies to soldiers who aren't in the Continental US. It's 7 days for soldiers in the Continental US. And then, it only applies to soldiers who are further than 100 miles from a place where they can get married. So, if a couple is in Arlington, Virginia, then they're less than 100 miles from Washington, DC, Maryland, and Delaware; it won't apply.

    Posted by: Fox | Aug 14, 2013 6:21:02 PM

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