friday, 16 august of 2013

US military to provide equal benefits to same-sex spouses

Same-sex couples 

US military to provide equal benefits to same-sex spouses

The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced Wednesday that it will extend benefits to same-sex couples in compliance with the June 26 Supreme Court ruling that striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Likewise, those couples stationed in a jurisdiction that will not provide a valid marriage certificate to same-sex couples will bgranted leave to obtain a license and certificate. All benefits will be retroactive to the date of the ruling for current members who provide a valid certificate. Furthermore, "For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor's guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses." Benefits are set to begin on or before September 3.

The DOD has steadily increased benefits to same-sex couples since the revocation of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) in 2011. In February of this year, the Under Secretary of Defense advised that same-sex couples should be considered for benefits equally with heterosexual couples effective August 31, pending the Supreme Court decision on DOMA. After a careful study with the Department of Justice, the DOD issued further internal guidance for extending benefits to same-sex couples on Tuesday, in preparation for Wednesday's public announcement.

(Published by Jurist – August 15, 2013)

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