Equal benefits for all

Same-sex spouses may get military perks
Associated Press
Aug 9, 2013

 

Same-sex spouses of military members could get health care, housing and other benefits by the end of August under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon. But earlier plans to provide benefits to gay partners who are not married may be reversed.

A draft Defense Department memo obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press says 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.

The memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to top defense leaders, if implemented, would reverse an earlier plan that would have allowed 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 wrote.

According to a U.S. official, the memo is under legal review by the Justice Department, and the Pentagon will not be able to take any action until that review is finished.

"Although we have bases and installations in all 50 states, not all state laws are equal when it comes to same-sex marriage," a defense official said. "That is why we are looking at providing extra leave for same-sex couples who want to get married to travel to a state where same-sex marriages are legal." The officials were not authorized to discuss the memo publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pentagon officials would not comment on the specifics of the memo. A Defense Department spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, said only that the Pentagon "is working alongside the Department of Justice to implement the court's decision as quickly as possible."

In February, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that by no later than Oct. 1 the Pentagon would extend some limited benefits to same-sex partners of service members. Housing benefits were not included, but the plans called for same-sex partners to get special identification cards granting them access to commissaries and other services.

The benefits would be contingent on the service member and his or her same-sex partner signing a declaration that they were in a committed relationship.

At the time, officials said that if the Supreme Court ruled on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the issue would be revisited. The act prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than that between a man and a woman.

In late June, the court cleared the way for legally married gay couples to be recognized under federal law and also allowed same-sex marriages in California to resume. It did not issue any sweeping declarations that would allow same-sex couples to marry anywhere in the country.

When the ruling was announced, Hagel said the Pentagon would reassess the department's decisions on benefits for same-sex couples and also begin the process of extending benefits to same-sex spouses of military members.

In the new draft memo, Hagel says the department intends to treat all married military personnel the same and "make the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation."

But, recognizing that same-sex couples are only allowed to marry in a limited number of states, Hagel said the provision allowing service members to travel to states where the unions are legal is a way to help overcome those challenges.

Defense officials estimate there are 18,000 same-sex couples in the active-duty military, National Guard and Reserves. It's unclear how many of those are married.

The repeal of the ban on openly gay military service took effect in September 2011.

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Follow Lolita C. Baldor on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lbaldor

 

Comments

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

What is right and wrong has been decreed by our infallible Creator.

The Supreme Court decision was a secular decision within a secular government.

The fallible opinions of a lost people, does not change wrong into right.

Contango

Re: "What is right and wrong has been decreed by our infallible Creator."

According to the Gospels, the only "commandments" Jesus gave were:

http://www.biblegateway.com/pass...

1. He said that they were "greater."

2. He didn't define "neighbor."

Nemesis

That is inaccurate.

Contango

Re: "That is inaccurate."

True. If Jesus did indeed exist, he spoke Aramaic not English.

Bluto

Here's a thought , When God create a being to worship and love only him , he create that being in his own image , male . Kinda sounds homoerotic doesn't it ? He only supposedly created woman to be a companion to man , right ? Just saying .

Pterocarya frax...

+5

freethinker1

Religion is built around a story in which a perfect god created an imperfect species that sinned, then blamed them for being sinners, and told them that worshipping god is the only path to redemption. This is basically the same as if someone cuts you with a knife, then tries to sell you a band-aid... Thanks, but I can and do lead a very moral life, and I do it without the delusion of religion and gods. As soon as Christians understand why they don't still believe in the Norse, Roman and Greek gods, they will understand why atheists don't believe in the Christian god. I would contend that we are all atheists, it's just that some of us reject one more god than others....

PolishBear's picture
PolishBear

DEAR THINKAGAIN:

Your personal religious beliefs should be applied in your own life. If you object to marriage equality for Gay couples, here are two suggestions:

1: Don't marry someone of the same sex as yourself, even if you have fallen in love with that person.

2: Politely decline any invitations to Gay weddings that you should receive.

But it is not the job of government nor our court system to uphold what you think God has decreed. It IS the job of government to uphold the Constitution. And unless the Constitution only applies to people who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual), there is no justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and protections that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

freethinker1

Excellent post, Polish.

Nemesis

Actually, Polishbear, there is.
First of all, there is no discrimination - under the existing laws, everyone is treated the same. A straight man can marry a woman, and so can a gay man; neither of them can marry a man. Everyone is under the same restrictions - it's just that what is prohibited is something that only one group WANTS to do.
Anyone can start a church and start performing any kind of marriages they want - the issue here is CIVIL marriage - the issuing of a license and the imposition of a legal status. Yes, I said imposition, because civil marriage is not primarily a set of benefits, but rather, an imposition by government. Married people lose a lot of their rights. For instance, if a purely platonic friend moves in with you, should you decide to part ways, you both retain all your property rights and can each do as you wish with your possessions, but a married couple must surrender all their property rights to a judge, who will decide for them. The law places certain obligations on married people, which, if they don't fulfill them, can result in, again, most of their rights being surrendered to a judge. Divorce courts have even taken away peoples' free speech rights, AFTER the divorce is final. What we SHOULD be doing is eliminating civil marriage, something that did not exist for most of this country's history. However, if the government is going to infringe peoples' rights in this manner, the Constitution and precedence require that it be to serve a compelling legitimate government interest. Such a compelling interest only exists in couplings that have the potential to create new people.

The real irony is, after 30 years working to overturn sodomy laws on the basis that peoples' intimate relationships are none of the government's business, the gay rights movement has now reversed that position and wants the government in the business of sanctioning their relationships with a license. Go figure. In time, there will be an ugly same sex divorce where one partner is filthy rich and the other one has nothing. When that happens, the smart bet is that the lawyer for the first partner will pull out every argument advanced against gay marriage to support the assertion that his client should not have to give half his/her wealth to "that golddigger."

pptrsha

bravo!

44846GWP

Figures you would be the first one to post.

freethinker1

Think Again: Would that be the Old Testament Creator, who was responsible for untold millions of deaths, or the New Testament God, who apparently realized he had previously acted like a big jerk? A couplel of the Ten Commandments seem to be the result of a jealous God, with demands as to how we must believe in him only. Wouldn't you think that someone who is infallible would be less petty and insecure? More noticeable are the things he DIDN'T think were important enough to include in the 10: slavery, discrimination, child abuse. Suddenly, he doesn't seem so infallible.

In the words of Epicurius, "If God is willing to prevent evil, but unable, he is not omnipotent. If he is able, but not willing to prevent evil, he is malevolent. If he is both able and willing, then whence comets evil. If he is both able and unwilling, then why call him God at all?"

arnmcrmn

I dont hate anyone but I stand by and believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman.

Contango

Re: "marriage is between a man and a woman."

Largely if it wasn't for inheritance laws, marriage would be a religious or secular institution and not a governmental issue.

Interestingly, SCOTUS chose an estate tax case on which to base its decision.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/su...

Get rid of the 16th Amend. and death taxes (see: Communist Manifesto) and it'll solve a lot of the "problem."

coasterfan

Arnmcrmn, you're entitled to your own opinion, but that's where it stops. You wouldn't want someone telling you whom you can or can't marry, and gays deserve the same equal, non-discriminatory treatment. That's why the courts have made the decisions they have.

tk

It isn't a matter of what is right or wrong according to your religious beliefs. It's a matter of what the constitution says.

Dont Worry Be Happy

I'm glad people are jumping into 2013 finally. It is not up to us to Judge who one loves or chooses to love, that's between God and them when its their time to answer. I would like to believe that when someone takes that step to put God in their life and says to him...please God I ask for your forgiveness...wether this my be a murderer or gay person God is going to forgive them because they choose him.So why are people getting so worked up over gay marriage turn the other way if you don't like it.

Everyone straight or gay,if married, should be at the same level. If i were some of you I would worry more more about people who cheat our system.Now that drives me crazy.

coasterfan

Don'T Worry Be Happy: Since God created them as gay, why would they need to ask him for forgiveness?

Dont Worry Be Happy

God did create us all the way we are. Its so hard sometimes to get points across on here so here goes.

I'm not saying gay is wrong in the eyes of God , we all have to answer to God when its time even being a Christian we are not perfect we still have to answer. So when I wrote my first comment I should have put more into that thought that we all have to answer. I was just trying to make people who are anti-gay to see it not their business to judge.

How did I do explaining, lol.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

I agree with you that we are all sinners, God loves us and calls us as "we are" to come to Him.

I disagree that anyone has ever been created homosexual and that Christians should not judge sin.

"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things,..." (1 Cor 2:15)

The primary stipulation given for Christians regarding judging is that we are not to proclaim our own judgments (based on our opinions), but to pronounce the judgments of God (based on truth).

We do have to judge what is sin and what isn't. There is a difference between judging an act, and judging a person.

Most people know the Biblical teaching of the candle being hid under the bushel, but the true meaning obviously doesn't register with those that bellyache that a Christian should be seen and not heard.

Changes are taking place in America, and will continue to take place. May our light shine brighter than ever as the darkness increases.

To accuse a Christian of "judging” other people is simply the Devil's lie. We should attack the sin, never the sinner. Though the wicked will claim the two are inseparable, there is indeed a great difference. God HATES sin, but not people.

Recognizing sin is the first step to overcoming, no matter which sin is being discussed. But “progressives” are trying to say that homosexual sex is “normal, moral and healthy behavior”. This is the reason to address it.

SamAdams

It's not up to the government to decide who and who can't get married. It's up to churches, synagogues, etc. The ONLY thing the government must constitutionally do is to treat those couples who ARE married EQUALLY.

I'm not going to argue about the morality of homosexual marriage. People believe what they believe, usually based on the morality of their own religious beliefs. But if you truly believe in freedom of religion, than you have no right to demand that other religions (or non-religions) adhere to the same code that you do!

The only exception I'm willing to make where freedom of religion is concerned is to add the caveat "...except when it infringes the rights of another." In other words, I don't care who marries whom, but I most emphatically DO care when women are beaten, homosexuals are stoned, or children are forced into sexual relationships via arranged marriages. Beyond that, it's none of my business, none of the government's business, and most assuredly, it's none of YOUR business!

The Big Dog's back

.

grumpy

Piddle Puppy got his nose rubbed in it so much so that he had to hide his piddle... again

coasterfan

Agree with Sam 100%

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Agree with you agreeing with Sam.

Nemesis

Sam, why should couples who are "married" by whatever definition be treated any differently from couples who aren't married? Why can't ANY two people, even two friends who don't EVER want to see each other naked, draw up a contract be a family (like virtual siblings) and be allowed to support each other and have a survivorship deed on their home? If the government has no business dictating morality, then let's get the government out of the business of picking which relationships to legitimize, and then we can stop arguing about whose criteria to use.

PolishBear's picture
PolishBear

The morality of Gay marriage is comparable to the morality of Straight marriage: It is morally and ethically preferable to encourage people toward monogamy and commitment, rather than relegating them to lives of loneliness and possibly promiscuity. So YES: Supporting marriage equality is the true conservative position.

Studies have repeatedly shown that the benefits are substantial:
1: Married couples typically contribute more and take less from society.
2: Married couples support and care for each other financially, physically and emotionally and often contribute more to the economy and savings.
3: Individuals who are married are less likely to receive government entitlements.
4: Individuals who are married statistically consume less health care services, and often give more to churches and charities.
5: Married couples are better able to provide care and security for children.

So what sense does it make to exclude law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples from this place at the table? Why is it, for example, that Straight couples are encouraged to date, get engaged, marry and build lives together in the context of monogamy and commitment, and that this is a GOOD thing … yet for Gay couples to do exactly the same is somehow a BAD thing? To me this seems like a very poor value judgment.

Couples do not need to marry to have children, nor is the ability or even desire to have children a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. There are also countless Gay individuals and couples who are raising adopting children into healthy, well-adjusted adulthood.

As Judge Vaughn Walker said in the decision on California's Prop. 8 Case: "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages." It was a view shared by the courts in the Golinski case against DOMA, where a Bush appointee in the Northern District of California concurred: "The exclusion of same-sex couples from the federal definition of marriage does nothing to encourage or strengthen opposite-sex marriages."

Nemesis

Part of what makes America unique is that your assertions about what is moral, regardless of their current popularity, carry no more weight than thinkagain's.

Pterocarya frax...

Well actually PolishBear's assertions do carry more weight because they are backed up by facts...as opposed to thinkagain's, which are backed up only by hateful ignorance.

Nemesis

No, because they are assertions of MORALITY. In this country, assertions of morality all carry equal weight regarding matters of government, because zero always equals zero. As for those facts, they are irrelevant to the issue in question because there is no evidence that they apply to the new type of civil marriage being contemplated. There are plenty of moral assertions to which I am sure you object for which numerous supporting facts can be cited - that doesn't change the fact that this is a free country where no one is subject to anyone else's moral assertions.

coasterfan

Points well taken, Polish Bear. A live theatre production of "8", which uses actual court testimony from the trial, was given on Broadway by a number of well known Hollywood actors. When you hear what actually was said by both sides of the issue in court, you get a true sense that those who oppose gay marriage have no leg to stand on, both legally and morally. When discrimination hides behind religion, it's not a pretty thing.

OSUBuckeye59

"When discrimination hides behind religion, it's not a pretty thing." VERY well said, coasterfan. And besides being "not a pretty thing", it also violates the separation of church and state.

I would still offer the solution of having our state and federal governments strike the word "marriage", and instead have laws use language that legalize the union of two humans. Let religious groups define what each denomination considers to be a marriage and let the government designate what they consider a legal union of humans. I realize there will be some small percentage of people irritated they can't be legally recognized for their dog or cat or iguana as a spousal partner. Still, we need to get our governments out of the marriage definition business.

Nemesis

Exactly, Buckeye. Why shouldn't two siblings, or two platonic friends, be able to live together and have a survivorship deed to their home?

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

The deviant sexual proclivity lobby epitomizes the intolerant attitude of the left wing, foaming at the mouth, propagandistic “progressive”.

Their never-ending pressuring of society to give up religious faith, merely exposes them as preachy, intolerant and hypocritical extremists.

Atheism contains nothing within itself that could reasonably generate any sort of moral standard.

What is “progressive” about two or more men regressing to an animal state and having sex with each other?

OSUBuckeye59

@thinkagain,

With all due respect, you're missing the point. The goal is not for the government to define what is and is not marriage. The goal is for government to define what is a legal union of two humans, and let religions define what constitutes a marriage. Atheism has no bearing or relevance. This is about the separation of church and state, where principally for matters of finance (i.e. insurance, estates) our government needs to clearly define what is and is not the legal definition for a union between two persons.

Speaking of being "progressive", what is "progressive" about a husband who believes he's devout yet sodomizes his wife? Or a "devout" husband forcing his wife to perform oral sex acts on him? Or a "devout" husband forcing his wife to have intercourse with him during her menstrual cycle? All of these acts are expressly forbidden in the Bible. How are these forced actions by the "devout" husband NOT a regression to an animal state on his part?

And what do sexual relations between a man and another man, a man and a woman, or a woman and a woman have anything to do with whether or not a same-gender partner should be recognized as a legal partner to receive insurance benefits?

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

I keep hearing the atheistic Left cry, “separation of church and state”. Sorry, I can’t seem to find that anywhere in the Constitution. The people did not want freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion.

Many of our laws are based on standards of morality found in the Bible. Should we remove them from law because the church should be separated from the state?

This country was established upon the assumption that religion was essential to good government.

To say Biblical principles should not be allowed in government is to either be ignorant of the historic intent of the founding fathers, or blatantly bigoted against Christianity.

There are many who live by the Word of God and live a moral and joyful life. What about their rights?

As parents, they wish to morally educate their children in accordance with the mandates of their own conscience and/or religious predisposition. Aren’t the liberals always complaining that religious morality should be barred from the public school agenda? Yet this particular “moral” view, that homosexuality should be accepted as normative by all, which is repugnant to the majority of Christians and people of sound mind, is taught to children who have no business being educated about ANY brand of sexual preference.

Jesus Christ: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7).

OSUBuckeye59

@thinkagain,

There is no language in the Constitution explicitly calling for separation of church and state, just as there is no language in the Constitution establishing a federally-sanctioned church since our Founding Fathers definitely did not want to sanction any one religion as was the case in England. Most of our founding fathers were religious men, but most were also staunch federalists, meaning they thought the power to legislate on religion, if it existed at all, lay within the domain of the state, not the national, governments. Additionally, the Constitutional delegates believed that it would be a tactical mistake to introduce such a politically controversial issue as religion into the Constitution. The only "religious clause" in the document--the proscription of religious tests as qualifications for federal office in Article Six--was intended to defuse controversy by disarming potential critics who might claim religious discrimination in eligibility for public office.

Religious principles can provide guidance in governing, but religion should not be used to dictate how we govern.

Many people do indeed find joy and solace in living by the word of God, just as I'm guessing (raised Catholic so I'm guessing) Atheists find joy and solace in their own way even though they don't believe in the existence of any God. And that's exactly as our Founding Fathers intended it: that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, & name-any-other-religious-sect-peoples could all peacefully live in the United States because the government explicitly did not sanction any one church...that they and their children and their children's children and so forth could live their lives without having any one religion being lorded over another. And this is exactly why when a public school has a picture of Jesus Christ hanging in the halls, if a student who is a follower of Islam requests to hang a picture of Mohammed, that student should be allowed to do so, just as Buhddist's hanging a picture of Buddha, and so forth. This doesn't mean I support requiring the public school to remove a picture of Jesus Christ, only that if a figure of one religion is placed in a prominent public location, then anyone wanting to also place a picture of their religious figure be given the opportunity to do so as well. And if a school chooses to teach children about Christianity, they must then allow for followers of other religions to also teach students about those other religions *IF* the other religious leaders make the request. And let's flip the argument: What if you had school-aged children and moved to a city where the majority of the population was of the Muslim faith, and your children came home after the first day of school telling you their teachers stopped classes at certain times of the school day in order to complete their daily prayer sessions, and that your children were all given prayer rugs and highly encouraged to participate?

But back to the original discussion of "Equal benefits for all", the point of all this is about legal recognition of the civil union of two persons for legal rights and status almost exclusively to deal with matters of finance. How does the recent Supreme Court decision, with one of the outcomes being a gay couple now being able to file a joint Federal Tax Return, violate your living a moral and joyful life? If someone named Bobbie wants to file a joint Federal Tax Return with someone by the name of Pat who they've been living with for the past 10 years, equally paying a house mortgage payment, equally paying for utility services, and equally paying homeowner insurance, what does it matter in the context of filing a joint Fed Tax Return if Bobbie and Pat are both males, or one is male the other female, or both are female?

BTW, you still haven't answered my questions about "Progressiveness".