12:50pm

Thu August 15, 2013
Politics

Pentagon Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses, Fort Carson Reacts

Fort Carson officials are reacting to Wednesday’s announcement by the Department of Defense to extend all spousal and family benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members.

The DOD move comes after a ruling earlier this year by the Supreme Court that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

In a statement released yesterday, the DOD says it ‘remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.’

Dani Johnson, Fort Carson’s Chief Public Information Officer, says the base near Colorado Springs will offer all benefits to same-sex spouses, but soldiers must provide a marriage certificate.

“As a military installation, Fort Carson will be part of the department of defense initiative to provide same-sex spouses the full range of military and federal benefits afforded heterosexual partners,” said Johnson. 

Fort Carson soldiers on dismounted patrol training.
Credit Fort Carson PIO, flickr

“Because the state of Colorado only recognizes civil unions for same sex couples, Fort Carson soldiers and their partners who wish to be granted benefits will need to procure a marriage certificate from another state or the District of Columbia.”

The DOD will allow service members stationed in states like Colorado where same sex marriage is illegal to take non-chargeable leave to travel to a state where same sex marriages are legal.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and 13 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

35 states have a ban on same sex marriage and 2 states, New Jersey and New Mexico, have no laws either banning or allowing same-sex marriage.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the new policy will allow same-sex spouses the ability to access health care and housing benefits, as well as extra compensation when a same-sex spouse is deployed. It will also allow spouses to access the post exchanges on base.

The benefit payments will be retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling which was handed down on June 26th of this year.