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DADT Repeal Raises Partner Benefits Question


The prospect of repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy raises the question of whether the same-sex partners of gay service members would be entitled to benefits.

On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced new regulations to make it more difficult to enforce the military ban until a full review is completed later this year. According to the Associated Press, the benefits issue will be included in his review of how to lift the ban, which is due to be finished December 1.

"Benefits for married service members include college tuition for a spouse and the right of a spouse to be at a wounded service member's bedside," reports the AP. "Spouses also have access to military health care and commissaries worldwide, and married service members receive better housing and even extra pay when they go to war.

"The ticket to qualifying for those benefits is a marriage certificate. Heterosexual couples have a choice whether to marry, but same-sex marriages are legal in only five states and Washington, D.C. Whether same-sex partnerships would be recognized by the military and what benefits might be afforded gay couples would become issues if the ban were lifted."

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