Gay and lesbian members of US military and their families to receive previously unavailable benefits

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls it 'a matter of fundamental equity'

Gay and lesbian members of US military and their families to receive previously unavailable benefits
12 February 2013

With his tenure as US Defense Secretary nearly over, Leon Panetta on Monday (11 February) announced that gay and lesbian military personnel and their families will begin receiving an extended array of benefits by this fall.

Those benefits include such things as identification cards, joint duty assignments, exemption from hostile fire areas, emergency leave, child care, legal assistance, commissary privileges, and morale, welfare, and recreation programs.

‘It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country,’ Panetta said in a lengthy statement.

‘Taking care of our service members and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation,’ he also stated. ‘Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation.’

But Panetta acknowledged that because the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents same-sex marriage from being recognized on a federal level, is still in effect, there are some benefits gays and lesbians and their families still will not get.

Those include health care and housing allowances.

But that could change of the US Supreme Court, which is reviewing DOMA this spring, declare the law unconstitutional.

Said an optimistic Panetta: ‘I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation. Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their families.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay diver Matthew Mitcham competes with Tom Daley in Olympic heat

After the Australian Olympic champion promises to dive naked if he wins, Mitcham, Daley and world number one Qiu Bo qualify in the first heat
No thumbnail available

Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

Malawi announced a moratorium on all anti-gay laws and their enforcement in order to encourage a public debate about decriminalising homosexuality
No thumbnail available

X Factor lesbian Lucy Spraggan top Google trend of 2012

Whitney Houston, Skyfall and the Olympics named most searched on Google in UK in annual 'Zeitgeist' list
No thumbnail available

Corvino goes to YouTube to defend gay marriage

John Corvino uses YouTube to explain same sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Fiance of murdered gay lawyer Kelly Phillips mourns his loss: 'I feel dead inside'

Nathon Bailey and victim were to be married soon - Phillips' ex is suspect in Minnesota slaying and remains a fugitive
No thumbnail available

US Supreme Court delays gay marriage decision at least until Friday

Waiting continues with no announcement on Proposition 8 or DOMA cases
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Utah Episcopal Church welcomes legalization of same-sex marriage

Utah Episcopal bishop Scott Hayashi has welcomed the legalization of same-sex marriage by a Federal Court judge, saying that it recognizes the dignity of all Utahans
No thumbnail available

Delta Air Lines says sorry for ‘H8GAYS’ boarding pass

Passenger says he was left 'extremely uncomfortable' after his boarding pass code was very homophobic
No thumbnail available

Jamaica election descends to homophobia

Labor Party plays anti-gay card in last minute struggle for votes ahead of Jamaican election