By way of an internal posting and without public notice, the Pentagon announced that benefits to same-sex couples will begin to be provided on Sept. 1, 2013. The benefits are limited, but are another reflection of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).
The benefits to be offered to “same-sex domestic partners,” referred to as “SSDPs,” include such things as travel, education, and counseling and transportation, but not health care and housing allowances. The limitations were acknowledge by then Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta when he made the anouncment earlier this year, and are directly related to DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
At Buzzfeed, Chris Geidner:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has since taken the reins at the Pentagon, and the announced implementation of Panetta’s plans was met with support from LGBT advocates.
OutServe-SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes told BuzzFeed, ‘We know there is much more to be done, but this certainly represents an important step toward achieving equality for gay and lesbian military families. We applaud Secretary Hagel and his team for making this commitment made by former Secretary Panetta a reality.’
The plans likely would be changed should the Supreme Court rule that the federal definition of marriage in DOMA is unconstitutional.
SCOTUS is expected to release decisions regarding marriage equality, as related to California’s Proposition 8 and DOMA, this month.
On the national stage, in the meantime, step-by-step advocacy continues related not only to marriage equality, but emloyment protections and immigration reforms. On state and local levels, activists and organizations keep the grassroots energy and perseverance going.
(Pentagon via Equality Matters)