14 August 2013

Defense Department announces same-sex spouse benefits

Good news: Pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, today the U.S. Department of Defense announced plans to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of DoD personnel. This includes spouses of uniformed service members and civilian DoD employees.

Available benefits will include the DoD's health care coverage, housing benefits, and separation allowances, as applicable. The benefits will become available no later than September 3 of this year.

From the DoD's announcement:

"The Department of Defense 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.


"We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.

"For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses."

Take THAT, John Boehner!

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