The news catching our attention over the past week has been the Pentagon’s plan to extend some benefits to same-sex military spouses. Word broke last week that the changes were to come:

Panetta must walk a fine, legal line. While there has been increased pressure on the Pentagon to extend some benefits to same-sex partners, defense officials must be careful not to violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The federal law forbids the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than those between a man and a woman.

On Feb. 11, the Department of Defense detailed specifics on the benefits that would be available to same-sex domestic partners:

  • Dependent I.D. cards
  • Commissary privileges
  • Exchange privileges
  • Morale, welfare and recreation programs
  • Surveys of military familes
  • Quadrennial quality of life review
  • Emergency leave
  • Emergency leave of absence
  • Youth sponsorship program
  • Youth programs
  • Family center programs
  • Sexual assault counseling program
  • Joint duty assignments
  • Exemption from hostile-fire areas
  • Transportation to and from certain places of employment and on military installations
  • Transportation to and from primary and secondary school for minor dependents
  • Authority of service secretary to transport remains of a dependent
  • Disability and death compensation: dependents of members held as captives
  • Payments to missing persons
  • Space-available travel on DoD aircraft
  • Child care
  • Legal assistance

No word yet on whether or not the milspouse hiring preference will be added to this list, but rest assured MSJDN will bring this issue up with our contacts at the Pentagon and report back.

MSJDN is open to all military spouse attorneys, and we are proud to serve with same-sex spouses in our attorney spouse ranks. No family, regardless of its makeup, should have to choose between service and career. MSJDN is charged with representing all military spouse attorneys and providing better access to justice for all military families.