DOD: Gay Troops Will Get Extra Time Off to Go to Same-Sex Marriage States and Get Hitched

By Susan Jones | August 14, 2013 | 12:23pm EDT

(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Defense Department announced on Wednesday that it will make "spousal and family benefits" available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, for all service members who can provide a valid marriage certificate.

And what about same-sex military couples who live in a state where same-sex marriage is not allowed? No problem.

"We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur," the DOD news release said.

"This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married."

The Defense Department said entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing, and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision, but any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted.  For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.

As for civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.

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