The Pentagon is poised to extend healthcare, housing and other benefits to the same-sex spouses of military members by the end of August but may reverse earlier plans to provide benefits to gay partners who are not married.
According to a draft memo obtained on Wednesday by the Associated Press, the department instead may provide up to 10 days of leave to military personnel in same-sex relationships so they can travel to states where they can marry legally.
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While no final decisions have been made, the memo from Chuck Hagel, the defence secretary, to top defense leaders would reverse an earlier plan that would allow the same-sex partners of military members to sign a declaration form in order to receive limited benefits, such as access to military stores and some health and welfare programs.
The recent supreme court decision extending federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples eliminates the need for such a plan, Hagel said in the draft.
“As the supreme court’s ruling has made it possible for same-sex couples to marry and be afforded all benefits available to any military spouse and family, I have determined, consistent with the unanimous advice of the members of the joint chiefs of staff, that the spousal and family benefits far outweigh the benefits that could be extended under a declaration system,” Hagel writes.
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