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At Fort Carson, Wait for Same-Sex Partner Benefits Could Take 8 Months

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced on Monday that the military will extend some benefits to same-sex partners. But the list of 22 items could take as long as eight months to implement at bases across the country, including Fort Carson Army Post south of Colorado Springs.

Fort Carson currently hosts about 26,000 soldiers and roughly 42,000 family members. All military posts have until October 1 to fully implement the changes, according to Fort Carson Media Relations Chief Loran Doane.

“[Fort Carson] will comply with the DOD’s new policy to ensure that all soldiers are treated with respect and fairness, and that their families are taken care of to the fullest extent allowable under the law,” he said.

Monday’s announcement allows same-sex domestic partners to access childcare, legal assistance, family center programs, commissaries that sell groceries and other services on base. In order to tap into the benefits, individuals will be required to sign a declaration of domestic partnership.

Not included in the announcement were housing payments and health care benefits, which military officials say couldn’t be included because of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. On Monday, Pentagon officials said that some access to base housing could be added in the future. According to the Associated Press, the issue requires more review; military officials are concerned that offering the benefit may be unfair.

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