Pentagon could decide this week on benefits to gay spouses

By REUTERS
February 6, 2013 00:35

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon could decide this week whether to extend more of the benefits offered to spouses of heterosexuals to those of gay personnel, a US official said on Tuesday.

Gay personnel are currently not able to obtain military benefits such as health care for their spouses, or the larger housing allowances granted to married couples, even though the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces was lifted in September 2011.

Gay spouses also cannot obtain military identification cards like those given to heterosexuals, a restriction that limits their access to military bases and the services offered there, from child care to shopping.

The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon had still to decide which benefits could be extended to gay spouses without violating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which only recognizes marriages between men and women. But he said a decision could be reached this week.

Pentagon spokesmen declined comment on the issue after the Washington Post reported that a decision had been made and would be announced later in the week.


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