British military acknowledges gay families

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 22 2003 1:00 AM ET

Government officials in the United Kingdom announced Friday that unmarried partners of military service members killed in the Gulf War will be eligible for pension payments, The [London] Times reports. The policy extends to same-sex as well as opposite-sex unmarried partners.

"The government is aware of the concerns of service personnel whose unmarried partners are currently ineligible for pension benefits," junior defense minister Lewis Moonie said in a statement. "We have concluded that it would be appropriate to address now the particular risks associated with each conflict." Under the new plan, which goes into effect immediately, the boyfriend or girlfriend of a service member killed in combat would be eligible for up to 90% of that partner's pension. "Each case will be judged on its own merits," an official told the Times. "It will not be an automatic payout."

The U.S. military, which does not allow its gay and lesbian service members to serve openly, does not recognize those service members' same-sex partners either.