Same-Sex Spousal Benefits To Be Extended In Military
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to take action this week to extend certain benefits to same-sex spouses previously being witheld from them, The Washington Post reported and BuzzFeed confirmed from a Defense Department official on Tuesday afternoon. Although the specifics of the move were not yet clear, LGBT advocates have been highlighting the issue since before repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was finalized in September 2011. OutServe-SLDN, the leading LGBT military organization, had sent a memo to the Pentagon in August 2011 detailing the benefits that could be granted, notwithstanding limitations required because of the Defense of Marriage Act. Tuesday's news was not in and of itself enough for OutServe-SLDN, which is pushing for the full panoply of benefits to be extended. "Secretary Panetta established a strong civil rights record long before taking office at the Pentagon, so his unwillingness to extend support and recognition to gay and lesbian service members and their families where it is clearly within his authority to do so has baffled many of us. We are hopeful that he will not take half-measures here; for him to grant anything less than the full extent of benefits available under current law would be an anticlimactic end to an otherwise exemplary record on civil rights," OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson said in a statement.