Same-sex military couples to get expanded access to benefits, Pentagon says

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Luigi59, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    'bout time, but still not good enough IMHO.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world...0e62f4-746f-11e2-95e4-6148e45d7adb_story.html

    Time for SCOTUS to strike down the entire DOMA as a clear violation of the EPC of the 14th Amendment.
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The Pentagon set up the implementation basically to rev up the system in preparation for the anticipated striking down of DOMA in US v. Windsor. Notice the implementation date for these benefits is 31 August. The results of the 27 March hearings are expected by May or maybe June. Most people following the case expect the SCOTUS to strike down DOMA section 3. With that removed, the DoD will be required to provide equal benefits. By beginning the transition process now, they will be ready to implement relatively quickly as they need to update TRICARE, DEERS, and other systems in order for the system to appropriately treat same sex couples.

    Many are already balking at the notion of domestic partnership in the release as it seems more generous than "spouse." First, domestic partnership was used as a bypass so they could provide broad benefits around DOMA short of medical and dependent pay.
    Second:
    "From Army BG Volesky regarding what's termed the "Heterosexual Argument"
    o Heterosexual Argument:
    o Heterosexual couples, if they choose, are able to marry in all 50 states, DC, and territories; same-sex couples do not
    o DoD is closing the gap in equity for benefits where legally permitted
    o DOMA precludes the US Government from recognizing a marriage between persons of the same sex"
    Third: the notion that some will use this fraudulently is not limited to domestic partnerships as it already occurs with marriage.

    Now, if the SCOTUS case on Prop 8 (Perry) were surprisingly applied nationally to remove all bans, then the domestic partnership will probably be replaced with spouse since barriers to same sex couples attaining a legal marriage certificate are removed. Until then, they will probably maintain domestic partnership in order to bridge the gap created by state-imposed barriers for members residing in states banning legal marriage. The paperwork that must be signed by members, for all intents and purpose, pretty much says they'd be married if able. See Attachment three of the linked memo below.

    For more information and the memo itself:
    http://www.defense.gov/news/Same-SexBenefitsMemo.pdf
     
  3. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Are they preparing for the decision, or are they trying to steer the decision? I see a possible message of "The train is leaving the station, SCOTUS get on board and drive or be left behind."
     
  4. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I don't think so. Outserve-SLDN has been behind the scenes talking heavily with SECDEF for months and months as the Pentagon was being very slow to implement. The Pentagon working group determined before the DADT repeal that all these benefits they are now announcing would be legal under current law - they just dragged their feet.

    Could it be because of politics and the election? Possible.

    There has also been a quiet conversation among commanders who are getting really uncomfortable with a chunk of their people who do have spouses and kids being denied access to base, the BX/PX, and a host of other issues. They do not like having two tiers of benefits for their troops.

    The Ft Bragg spouses club incident, I guarantee, is part of why this is being accelerated because that gained the Army a great deal of negative press (especially after the marines made it clear they would prohibit use of facilities for spouses clubs discriminating like Bragg's did). The Bragg club revised their rules to require an ID, and short of going on about their silly politics, DoD does not want a replay of that anywhere.

    After SCOTUS agreed to take Windsor in December, the legal peanut gallery is definitely coming to a large consensus that DOMA's days are numbered (even by the fact that they took it was a sign to them). I think the Pentagon is the one trying to catch up. By being proactive, they are trying to avoid a long transition after the likely decision that they would probably get bad press for (as happened with DADT repeal).

    So, based on the channels I am in and hear from, I would say the Pentagon is trying to catch up and be ready for imminent change rather than leading the charge.
     
  5. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Well if the Pentagon is trying to catch up, it would seem that SCOTUS is being made to look like it is dragging up the rear.

    And I suspect the timing delay of the benefit changes only serves to magnify the idea that SCOTUS will truly be behind the curve if they don't rule a certain way.

    And by delaying the change of benefits announcement, it only serves to keep the message in front of the SCOTUS.

    Perhaps though this is an Rorschach test.
     
  6. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Either way, it is the right thing to do.
     
  7. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    If it is going to happen, with all the other distractions facing the other branches, the SCOTUS will be the one that leads the way. Nobody wants to spend the political capital to repeal DOMA.
     
  8. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Looks like POTUS has reinforced the same-sex benefits message in the State of the Union.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Yup. I don't really have a problem with it except how are we going to pay for that!
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The same way we pay for the other thousands of couples who get married and file for dependent benefits every year.
     

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