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Pentagon to Offer 10 Days Paid Leave for Gay Service Members to Travel to States Where They Can Marry

According to a Defense Department memo obtained by the Associated Press, the Pentagon is ready to extend benefits including housing and health care to the same-sex spouses of service members. However, rather than providing benefits to declared gay partners who are not married (which was in an earlier plan) the new plan would offer up to 10 days of leave to gay service members so they can travel to states where they may marry legally.

HagelThe AP reports:

While no final decisions have been made, the memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to top defense leaders would reverse an earlier plan that would allow the same-sex partners of military members to sign a declaration form in order to receive limited benefits, such as access to military stores and some health and welfare programs.

"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," Hagel wrote.

The plan is scheduled to take effect by the end of August.

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Comments

  1. This is a good idea. Now that all same sex unions are federally recognized there's really no logic in granting unmarried same sex couples benefits unmarried straight couples don't have access to.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 8, 2013 10:21:53 AM


  2. Service members already get 30 days of leave a year. Let them use some of that leave, or make it unpaid leave. To give them 10 days of extra paid leave, but not give that to other service members is not fair and equal treatment.

    Posted by: Anthony Wood | Aug 8, 2013 11:12:37 AM


  3. @Anthony Wood

    Other service members don't have to travel out-of-state to get married. In fact, they can marry in their local military chapel. Since the Pentagon is going to require them to marry to continue their current benefits (and presumably will require them to marry fairly soon), it's best that they be given a little free time to do that.

    Posted by: Steven H | Aug 8, 2013 11:18:35 AM


  4. Awesome. God bless marriage. Congratulations to all the new families!

    Posted by: DB | Aug 8, 2013 11:18:41 AM


  5. Geez, Anthony; lighten up... It's not as though our Service Members are overpaid. Let 'em have the extra time off for this huge, life Moment.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Aug 8, 2013 11:27:49 AM


  6. We were worried about Chuck Hagel being a problem for gays as Defense Secretary?

    Posted by: jsb | Aug 8, 2013 11:30:16 AM


  7. OK, Russ and Matt! Here's your chance!

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 8, 2013 11:34:44 AM


  8. Anthony Wood:
    Maternity leave is also unfair to male soldiers according to your logic.

    Posted by: simon | Aug 8, 2013 11:48:29 AM


  9. No, Anthony, what's not fair and equal treatment is that not everyone can marry in all 50 states. This action points that situation out and attempts to remedy it. I assume it will only apply to service members who are currently stationed in non-equality states; so say, couples in New York won't be able to go on a 10-day wedding trip to California.

    Posted by: Fox | Aug 8, 2013 12:24:32 PM


  10. Not surprising that the US military has become such a strident supporter of gay rights and gay marriage once the command structure's world-view "evolved".

    Now this policy-change places additional pressure on states with civil unions...yes, you Gov. Christie...to up-grade.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Aug 8, 2013 12:42:39 PM


  11. @Anthony Wood
    You're kidding me, right? Their heterosexual colleagues have had free medical care, base housing, and commissary privileges for their spouses PLUS the right to bring those spouses with them on many overseas postings PLUS extra pay for having a family and being separated from it for generations. The injustice was denying those same benefits to homosexual servicemembers for so long. Giving those who wish to travel back to the US to marry to secure those rights now that they are available is not unfair. It's a step toward equality. If they don't do it, gay and lesbian servicemembers fighting in Afghanistan have no immediate opportunity to get those rights for their partners.

    Posted by: Art | Aug 8, 2013 12:55:24 PM


  12. Okay but what about civilian employees?

    Posted by: Paul B | Aug 8, 2013 2:02:07 PM


  13. Hope this is a hoax.

    It seems very unfair to other DoD employees.

    Also what happened to not having any money to stave off the civilian furloughs?

    Posted by: CGD | Aug 8, 2013 3:34:17 PM


  14. I didn't see anything in the Associated Press story to say that the leave was with pay.

    Posted by: F Young | Aug 8, 2013 6:53:17 PM


  15. The lack of marriage equality throughout the United States of America is what is unfair.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 8, 2013 7:04:52 PM


  16. I am really surprised at the number of negative comments about this. This is not a free vacation for fun and relaxation. This is time for servicemembers who have been deprived of their civil rights to go and secure their rights for their families. I wish that some of these people who bark about someone getting 10 days leave that they dont get could lose their rights for a couple of months. See what it feels like trying to insure your families health. See how it feels to go on deployment in a war zone knowing that there is nothing for your family if you die.

    Posted by: jeff | Aug 8, 2013 10:59:49 PM


  17. Bravo, this is actually a better plan for a lot of reasons.
    At first I thought 5 days of leave would seem sufficient, but then I realized It think in the military, day of leaves really includes the weekends, too, right?

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Aug 8, 2013 11:58:22 PM


  18. oops
    "I think"

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Aug 8, 2013 11:58:41 PM


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