Pentagon Will Extend Some Benefits To Same-Sex Partners [Report]

The Pentagon is preparing to extend some benefits to same-sex partners of military personnel, according to officials on Tuesday.

While some benefits will be expanded, it’s still unlikely that the Pentagon will offer the medical, dental, and housing allowances requested by gay and lesbian couples.

The decision was made by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, reports The New York Times. Full benefits are unlikely, because they would require the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, to be repealed.

DOMA was passed in 1996 and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Pentagon lifted the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops serving in the armed forces. Despite this, they cannot recognize same-sex marriages, because of DOMA.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional or not. Officials at the Pentagon stated that Panetta is expected to order benefits like the issuance of military identification cards, to same-sex partners of military personnel.

That would allow the individuals to shop at military commissaries, access gymnasiums, movie theaters, and other family support programs on bases and posts.

The military expects to make the announcement this week, notes The Washington Post. Officials at the Pentagon have not confirmed exactly what benefits the department can offer without violating the DOMA.

Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde stated that the department has been conducting a “deliberative and comprehensive review of the possibility of extending eligibility for benefits, when legally permitted, to same-sex domestic partners.” She added that the Defense Department already granted some benefits to same-sex spouses. Those mainly relate to troop deaths and other emergencies.

Do you think the Pentagon should extend benefits to same-sex couples?

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