Same-sex spouses of uniformed military members and Department of Defense civilian employees will be eligible for benefits the DOD announced today.
“After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate,” a DOD press release stated.
Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision.
“It is now the department’s policy to treat all married military personnel equally,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement.
“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,” according to the DOD statement.