Bill Could Add More Benefits for Same-Sex Military Partners
BY Michelle Garcia
February 14 2013 7:58 PM ET
Congress has introduced a bill to further extend the rights for same-sex partners of people in the military and their families.
The Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, re-introduced with about 40 co-sponsors as of Thursday, would allow the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize any marriage that has been recognized by a state, the District of Columbia, commonwealths, territories or possessions and provide the same benefits to the spouses of all service members. The act is designed to act as a stopgap between Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement earlier this week to extend more rights to same-sex military couples, and the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from officially recognizing marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
“While we wait for a decision from the Supreme Court on DOMA, we look forward to seeing action from the President and the next Secretary of Defense to make sure our troops and their families are protected from discrimination and prejudice,” said American Military Partner Association president Stephen Peters.
Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan fought in her final months to extend benefits to the same-sex partners of military personnel. She passed away last week after a five-year battle with breast cancer, leaving behind her wife Karen and their daughter Casey.
Panetta's announcement this week will allow same-sex military partners to obtain dependent identification cards, family support programs, child care, joint assignments, and other benefits. Still other benefits, such health care and housing allowances, can only be granted to same-sex couples once the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, because those statutes are governed using the words "spouse" and "marriage." DOMA bars the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples.
"All spouses in the military, regardless of orientation, put up with tremendous hardships, and it's time we recognize their contribution and sacrifice with true equality," Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the lead sponsor on the bill, said Thursday.
- Op-ed: What People Don't Get About Dismay Over Jared Leto
- Anne Rice Announces New Vampire Chronicles Novel
- The Striking Muxe: Mexico's Third Gender
- Trans Woman Sues CrossFit After Being Told to Compete in Men's Division
- WATCH: Gay Man's Grandfather Came Out to Him at 90 Years Old
- The A-List Interview: Chris O'Dowd
- Print Issue The Striking Muxe: Mexico's Third Gender 1 hour 58 min ago
- Current Issue Editor’s Letter: April/May Issue 2 hours 58 min ago
- Parenting Is Mr. Peabody & Sherman About Adoption by Gays? 4:00 AM
- Media Former Fox Sportscaster Claims Anti-Antigay Discrimination March 10 2014 9:37 PM
- Women Lorde Takes Down Idiot DJ Who Implies She and Taylor Swift Are Lesbians March 10 2014 9:01 PM
- Women WATCH: Trailer for New Lesbian-Themed Series #Hashtag March 10 2014 7:54 PM
- Travel Sydney Mardi Gras: A Post-Mortem March 10 2014 7:47 PM