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Breaking: Defense Department Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Partners

by David Badash on February 11, 2013

in DOMA,Don't Ask Don't Tell,News,Politics

Post image for Breaking: Defense Department Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Partners

Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced he is ordering the Defense Department to extend benefits to partners of military same-sex couples. Below, Secretary Panetta’s official statement and the original memorandum.

“Seventeen months ago, the United States military ended the policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We have implemented the repeal of that policy and made clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation has no place in the Department of Defense,” Secretary Panetta’s statement reads:

“At the time of repeal, I committed to reviewing benefits that had not previously been available to same-sex partners based on existing law and policy. It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country. The department already provides a group of benefits that are member-designated. Today, I am pleased to announce that after a thorough and deliberate review, the department will extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members.

“Taking care of our service members and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation. Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation.

“One of the legal limitations to providing all benefits at this time is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land. There are certain benefits that can only be provided to spouses as defined by that law, which is now being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defense, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation. Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their families.

“While the implementation of additional benefits will require substantial policy revisions and training, it is my expectation that these benefits will be made available as expeditiously as possible. One of the great successes at the Department of Defense has been the implementation of DADT repeal. It has been highly professional and has strengthened our military community. I am confident in the military services’ ability to effectively implement these changes over the coming months.”

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s Memorandum on the Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Partners by

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BJLincoln February 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

DOMA is going to be repealed. When it is, many of the problems we face as married couples will be gone. Everyone is stalling until SCOTUS rules on the 2 cases before them. They will see there is no reason to deny LGBT people anything. We have facts and figures as well as the emotional testimony from couples and families. They have nothing but a holy book. This will be the prop8 trial all over.
This statement strongly supports the need for DOMA to be repealed.
Thank you Leon

majgross February 12, 2013 at 8:24 am

BJ, I think you are correct that DOMA will be repealed but until it is repealed I don't see how Sec Def can follow through on these policies. I do think you are incorrect to state that we have "emotional testimony". That doesn't matter. What we have is a nation that has an obligation to provide the same rights to everyone regardless of feelings.

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