Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce this week that the Pentagon will extend some benefits to same-sex spouses, according to several media reports.
The Washington Post was the first to break the news, reporting:
The new benefits may include housing privileges, access to base recreational facilities and joint duty assignments for uniformed couples, but legal experts say the Pentagon is unlikely to find a way to offer health-care coverage and more than 100 other spousal benefits while the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman — remains in effect
Several unnamed Defense Department officials told the Associated Press that as part of the new policy, military same-sex spouses would probably be required to fill out a document naming the fellow spouse as the new benefits' recipient.
“Secretary Panetta established a strong civil rights record long before taking office at the Pentagon, so his unwillingness to extend support and recognition to gay and lesbian service members and their families where it is clearly within his authority to do so has baffled many of us. We are hopeful that he will not take half-measures here; for him to grant anything less than the full extent of benefits available under current law would be an anticlimactic end to an otherwise exemplary record on civil rights."