Editorial: Benefits for all military families
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta moves the Pentagon in the right direction with expanded benefits for same-sex partners of military personnel.
Seattle Times Editorial
ELIMINATION of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is the next logical step to recognize and honor the contributions of gay and lesbian military personnel and their families.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is doing what he can outside the prohibitions of DOMA, which bars the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex unions.
Panetta is leading the effort to expand access to on-base services such as shopping at commissaries and exchanges, some health and welfare services and social programs.
DOMA prevents the Pentagon from offering medical and dental and housing allowances. That could all change as the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear constitutional challenges to DOMA.The court is expected to rule by June.
Panetta’s laudable efforts recognize the concurrent changes in the civilian and military environments. If the Pentagon wants to continue to attract people willing to serve their country, it must accommodate the culture and the recruiting base.
The military lifted its ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, but that move in September 2011 cannot lawfully acknowledge the reality of same-sex marriages that are legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.
Panetta is bringing the Pentagon into the 21st century. British lawmakers voted Tuesday in favor of gay marriage. Even the Boy Scouts of America hints at changing its membership rules for scouts and leaders.
Fully recognizing the contributions of same-sex couples and their families means getting rid of DOMA. Panetta is doing what he can for those he can help.