Chuck Hagel | Discrimination | Gay Marriage | James Inhofe | Military | News

Senator James Inhofe: Military's Gay Policies Discriminate Against Straight Families

Towleroad recently reported on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement that it would 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.

Senator_inhofeSenator James Inhofe (R-OK) is outraged, and sent an angry letter to Hagel demanding to know why straights are being discriminated against and questioned the legal authority of granting the benefit.

August 22, 2013

Dear Secretary Hagel:

I was very disappointed by the recent Department of Defense announcement that it intends to extend benefits to same-sex couples that are not equally afforded to opposite-sex couples.  I write this letter to express my great concern to policy issued on August 13, 2013, especially the intent to extend special uncharged leave benefits to same-sex partners and not to all military couples.  Further, I am unaware of any legal authority to grant uncharged leave to couples seeking to be married.

I appreciate that the Department is reevaluating its policies in light of the recent Supreme Court decision declaring section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  However, the Department of Defense has failed to notify Congress of its intentions, and I remind the Department of its obligation to keep Congress advised as it relates to plans to modify rights and benefits of our armed forces.  It is necessary that the Senate must first consider the implication of such a policy before the Department of Defense implements a modification of Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06 “Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures.” 

Mr. Secretary, I firmly support the Department of Defense’s stated commitment to ensuring that all men and women who serve our country and their families should be treated fairly and equally.  However, this change in policy will create disparate treatment between same-sex and opposite-sex couples in our armed forces contrary to the Department’s stated policy.  I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.


James M. Inhofe
Ranking Member

Inhofe, who once proudly proclaimed on the Senate floor that his family never had a single gay in it, is behind a bill prohibiting gays from marrying on military bases, doesn't want them marching in uniform in Pride parades, opposed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, has ties to anti-gay evangelism in Africa, and blasted gay marriage in a campaign ad, couldn't possibly be motivated by homophobia, could he?

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  1. Easy solution to this problem Senator. We rewrite a section that says any service member who resides in a state where heterosexual couples can't marry can get the 10 days as well.

    Posted by: voice | Aug 23, 2013 1:10:28 PM

  2. It's worth noting that this benefit was largely misreported when first announced. You get it right when you say "up to" 10 days. Actually up to 7 if stateside and up to 10 days if overseas.

    The amount is to be determined by the commanding officer and is meant for travel to and from a place of marriage, not the "homo honeymoon" that certain homophobes called it.

    You can fly from Houston to Boston (for example), pick up a license, get a waiver of the 3-day wedding period, and be back in Texas the same day. A reasonable commander would give you 2 days off.

    Somehow I think the purpose of this policy was to give people like Imhofe a chance to model their wing-nut rage. He performs on cue.

    Posted by: Chuckles | Aug 23, 2013 1:12:00 PM

  3. It's always amazing how homophobes let the extreme anger they feel when anyone does anything even remotely fair for us get in the way of common sense. This moron must have been fuming for weeks that we are being given special treatment, and his anger evidently prevented him from realizing the obvious point that opposite sex couples can marry in any state they happy to be in, and so don't need the "special right" that we're getting. All it does is make him look like the moron (and homophobe) that he is.

    Posted by: David | Aug 23, 2013 1:12:12 PM

  4. He is right. Gay service members should not have more rights, like uncharged leave, than heterosexual service members so there is one easy solution.... allow gay service members to marry in all 50 states.

    There problem solved... the gay service members will not need the uncharged leave to travel to a state that allows same-sex marriage so the DoD won't need to put it in policy.

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 23, 2013 1:14:32 PM

  5. He's absolutely correct. Any member of the armed services who is stationed in a location in which he or she cannot marry the spouse of their choice should be eligible for 10 days of leave to travel to a location where they can marry that spouse. Certainly the first cousins stationed in his home state will greatly benefit from this policy.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Aug 23, 2013 1:15:07 PM

  6. It's simple,if straight people were not allowed to marry in most states then they would get the ten days as well.How stupid can homophobic people be.....incredibly stupid.Revolting.

    Posted by: Mikah | Aug 23, 2013 1:21:52 PM

  7. So typical. Reasonable, small accommodations to help level the playing field and, suddenly the privileged straight people are screaming, Special rights, Special rights! Of course Inhofe and his rightwing cohorts uttered not a peep all those years when straight families actually got boatloads of special rights. They're fuming over this pittance, when really they simply can't stand the fact that gay service members not only exist but are destined to receive fair treatment.

    As others have said, there's also an easy solution to the leave: marriage equality in 50 states.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 23, 2013 1:27:07 PM

  8. History will not be kind on these homophobes *smh*

    Posted by: Kevin | Aug 23, 2013 1:27:25 PM

  9. The playing field even today isn't level because most military bases aren't held in states with marriage equality. Couples have to spend $$ out of pocket to travel and marry and have weddings in a 7 day window, then go back to a state that doesn't even recognize their marriage. That's not equality, but it's something. It's something that helps affirm our LGB troops who serve honorably and makes things a little less unfair. And even that's too much for many. Pathetic, hateful. Thank you Chuck Hagel in your actions in the name of equality.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 23, 2013 1:46:55 PM

  10. someone needs to buy these talking heads a mirror for practice, before turning them loose on the general public. make the policy the same for any service member, regardless of orientation.

    it might be funny watching bigots fall all over themselves as they self destruct, if it weren't so sad at the same time. keep up the good work!

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 23, 2013 2:04:11 PM

  11. Now he's worried about soldiers being treated equally?

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 23, 2013 2:12:18 PM

  12. Andy your continued use of the term Homophobia when in this case this is really political Straight Supremacy in action is distressing.

    This man is not afraid of gay people.

    This man is a Straight Supremacist - for political and personal privilege reasons.

    Posted by: rjp3rjp | Aug 23, 2013 2:13:09 PM

  13. Simple and cheaper. All military Chaplains must serve the needs for all military personnel, no discrimination. All military personnel may marry on their military base. If the military base is not in an area with marriage equality then the marriage occurs at that base with a license from Washington DC our nations capital where the Pentagon is located.

    Posted by: Nigel | Aug 23, 2013 2:13:11 PM

  14. Inhofe and Putin seem to be made for each other! Hate and Fear matching ensembles. It's 1960 all over again!

    Posted by: Geoff | Aug 23, 2013 2:13:35 PM

  15. "Mr. Secretary, I firmly support the Department of Defense’s stated commitment to ensuring that all men and women who serve our country and their families should be treated fairly and equally."

    Since when?

    Posted by: Merv | Aug 23, 2013 2:18:59 PM

  16. Drama queen!

    Posted by: Jack M | Aug 23, 2013 2:39:15 PM

  17. Inhofe's motivations are clear enough, but like a broken clock that's correct twice a day he's also correct here. The intention of this policy change is noble but is also misguided. It does smack of special rights even if only meant to assist those impacted by the current injustice of SSM being banned in most states. The repeal of DADT was about being treated no different than other Servicemembers which this doesn't accomplish. Many straight couples have to travel as well for weddings, even if not forced to because of laws for other reasons. Perhaps a standard policy giving everyone a few days of uncharged leave for those cases would be the est best approach, but not this.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Aug 23, 2013 3:35:58 PM

  18. Jonathan's right. And the policy can easily be rewritten to apply to straight folks. It just will hardly ever apply and will be even rarer for those seeking 10 days from overseas locations, as first cousin marriage is more available on the international front.

    Posted by: Fox | Aug 23, 2013 3:58:00 PM

  19. If a mixed-sex couple are stationed in a state where they cannot be married by state law, the military will allow that couple 10 days leave to visit a state where they can get married. Easy-peasy.

    Never mind the fact that a mixed-sex couple can get legally married in all 50 states, every US territory and possession, and pretty much every country where the US has a military base.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Aug 23, 2013 4:00:32 PM

  20. Well the Imhofe family certainly can't claim they haven' t contained Fascists or Nazis.

    Posted by: Chevytexas | Aug 23, 2013 4:36:20 PM

  21. No it doesn't, Ingrate.

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 23, 2013 6:03:53 PM

  22. Well if you bigoted assholes didn't ban gay marriage in narrow-minded states then they would not have to travel to a state that allowed gay marriage now will they. Idiot.

    Posted by: Mmike1969 | Aug 23, 2013 6:29:30 PM

  23. "Many straight couples have to travel as well for weddings..."

    Someone doesn't understand the difference between being forced and choosing.

    Posted by: BobN | Aug 23, 2013 8:02:59 PM

  24. I can't wait for these dinosaurs to die off, unfortunately he will probably be like Strom Thurmond, live to be 98 and still in the US Senate.

    Posted by: jsb | Aug 23, 2013 8:38:06 PM

  25. The solution is to work to allow gay couples to marry in all US states and territories, that way there would be no need to travel to get married. There. Problem solved. These problems are not complicated for people who aren't bigots.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Aug 23, 2013 8:49:33 PM

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