Pentagon Provides Special Benefit for Same-Sex Couples

The Story: The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it would grant same-sex couples previously unavailable federal benefits by September — including a special leave not granted to heterosexual service members.

The Background: According to The Hill, the Defense Department is giving legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples by Sept. 3, a move that’s being made in response to the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this year.

“It is now the Department’s policy to treat all married personnel equally,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a memo announcing the new benefits.

“The Department will construe the words ‘spouse’ and ‘marriage’ to include same-sex spouses and marriages, and the Department will work to make the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages.”

The newly available benefits for same-sex couples include housing, medical, and family separation benefits, which will be made retroactive to June 26, the date of the Supreme Court decision.

The Pentagon will also grant special leave for service members who are stationed in a location where same-sex marriage is illegal. Service members stationed in the contiguous United States will receive up to seven days leave, and those in Hawaii, Alaska and overseas can get up to 10 days, acting Undersecretary for Personnel Jessica Wright said in a memo.

“We recognize that same-sex couples not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry,” said Hagel. “Accordingly, the Department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable, for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur.”

Why It Matters: From the formation of the Continental Army in 1775 to 2011, the U.S. military considered homosexual behavior to be detrimental to morale, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline. But in 2010 both the judicial and executive branches decided to overturn the long-standing policy in order to allow service members to openly engage in homosexual relationships.

Less than three years after forcing this change on the military — and the American people — a new standard has been added in which service members are given special treatment in order to circumvent state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage. To understand why Secretary Hagel’s reasoning cannot withstand scrutiny, consider the case of state legal age to marry laws. If an 18 year old female sailor stationed at the naval station in Newport, Rhode Island wants to marry her 17 year old beau, she needs not only his parent’s consent but approval from the Family Court. If the Family Court disapproves, she would not be able to marry in Rhode Island but could do so in another state, such as Pennsylvania or Texas. Why would she not be eligible for seven days of free vacation to marry her fiancé?

The new policy change shows how rapidly the federal government has moved from prohibiting to forcing acceptance to providing preferential treatment for homosexuality.

  • the Old Adam

    And the downward spiral continues.

  • Johnny Appleton

    Well, at least the gay dudes won’t be requesting maternity leave… :)

    BTW – what do military stories matter for the believer? Didn’t Christ command us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? I’ve read the NT front to back many times and can’t find much about taking up swords to kill others, but I do see Jesus’ rebuke of Peter for using a sword…

    • Melody

      No but they will be demanding surrogates and payment for adoptions because they deserve children. Then they will get maternity leave.

  • Curt Day

    The change in Pentagon rules does not demand that we agree with homosexuality. It provides a reinforcement that homosexuals be treated as equals in society. In addition, I don’t see the preferential treatment for homosexuals in what is written here. I am sure that if there were states that prohibited heterosexual marriages, special accommodations would be made for military members who have opposite sex partners.

    Here is the real issue. Should Christians insist that society punishes homosexuals because the Scriptures speak against the practice of homosexuality? The more we say yes, the more we will fit the stereotype that exists only in the minds of anti-Christian bigots.

    • Michael in Dublin

      I do not believe that the state should legislate on homosexual relationships (which it does) or on adulterous relationships (which it does not). These are moral issues where churches should follow the clear guidelines of the Scriptures and be free to call these both harmful and sinful relationships without being proscribed.

      However, the achievements of the gay marriage advocates has spurred them on to seek to silence any negative comments on their views and relationships. They will demand the legal punishment of anyone who publicly expresses views that “embarrass” them. The real concern of the Christian that their views and lifestyles are harmful and hurtful will be labled as bigoted, intolerant and hateful – while the Christian in reality is concerned with speaking the truth in love.

      • Melody

        Yes they do. Why do you think Petraus had to resign?

        • Michael in Dublin

          If this were the case then why have so many in leadership positions including presidents who had adulterous relationships not been forced to resign?

          But this is not my point which is that legislating morality invariably involves supporting the most vocal groups and political interests – not supporting a morality like that which is foundational to the Judeo-Christian teachings.

    • JohnM

      I am not so sure “that if there were states that prohibited heterosexual marriages, special accommodations would be made for military members who have opposite sex partners.”. This policy is singularly in support of a specific agenda. General fairness and equal treatment is not the driving consideration.

      “Should Christians insist that society punishes homosexuals because the Scriptures speak against the practice of homosexuality?” Well, it has been a while since the mainstream of Christianity has advocated actually punishing homosexual behavior anyway, so the “should” question is academic. Back when homosexuality was punished in the military (which it wasn’t always even “back then”, by the way) the reference was the UCMJ, not scripture.

      What Christians should do is tell the truth, rather than let a lie prevail by default, and concern ourselves more with the reality of who we are than with our image.

      • Melody

        The truth is that military people were murdered on base(Ft.Hood) in an act of terrorism. Soldiers that had made it thru a tour over seas safely. Soldiers that were being processed to go and various other things such as the young pregnant soldier. A Muslim soldier that hated them declared an act of war on them. Politically it was declared a work place “incident” leaving them without the benefits they need.

        I wonder what would happen if those killed had been gay couples being processed…..probably a Hollywood fundraiser at the very least.

  • Philippa

    Why It Matters: From the formation of the Continental Army in 1775 to 2011, the U.S. military considered homosexual behavior to be detrimental to morale, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline.

    Whereas soldiers sleeping with local women and prostitutes was, and always has been, regarded as completely acceptable. The Bible, however, regards heterosexual promiscuity as sinful as gay sex.

    Do evangelicals honestly believe there has never existed one single gay soldier who wasn’t promiscuous, had no intentions to seduce anyone in their unit and took their service to their country seriously?

  • Joe Carter

    Whereas soldiers sleeping with local women and prostitutes was, and always has been, regarded as completely acceptable.

    What branch of service did you serve in? Because I can tell you that in the Marine Corps sleeping with prostitutes was not considered “completely acceptable.”

    • Philippa

      I’m not sure why you assume I am in the armed services, Mr Carter. :)

      OK, that was a bit of a sweeping statement on my part! I am sure no reputable military department CONDONES their soldiers sleeping with prostitutes – of course not. And I didn’t actually have the US army specifically in mind here, I was thinking more generally.(Were US army members subject to discipline, had it been discovered they slept with prostitutes?) But that kind of thing has surely gone on in many other armies.

      • Mike Steffan

        “Were US army members subject to discipline, had it been discovered they slept with prostitutes?”

        While Joe Carter answered that question, I would also add that even if they weren’t disciplined, they also weren’t given benefits for doing so either.

    • Melody

      Is he saying a married gay soldier is less likely to hit on other soldiers or not be promiscuous?

      In the mean time we have actual wounded warriors being left at the bottom of the heap when it comes to priorities.

  • Joe Carter

    Were US army members subject to discipline, had it been discovered they slept with prostitutes?

    Yes, they are. Everyone in the U.S. military is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Article 138-34 Pandering and Prostitution makes it illegal to solicit a prostitute (

    • Philippa

      OK, thanks for the clarification.

    • JohnM

      For the sake of honesty however, as with adultery, the military does in fact routinely turn a blind eye to prostitution, the UCMJ notwithstanding. And yes there have been times and place where promiscuous heterosexual behavior has been openly condoned. It simply doesn’t follow that the answer is for homosexual behavior should be condoned as well, let alone that homosexual marriage should be so generously accommodated.

      • Melody

        Hypocritical men turn a blind eye. Have they set up special accommodations saying men can’t help themselves? Is there an “allowance” fund for those wanting to visit prostitutes?
        There are states that allow pot smoking. Where does that Supreme Court stand on this? Can everyone have days off to go visit CO?

        • JohnM


          I hope you read all my comment(s) and do not have the impression I’m in support of DOD policy on this. I agree with Joe’s point identifying this special leave as a privilege not afforded other military members. And that to do something we all know shouldn’t be done in the first place.

          However; “Have they set up special accommodations saying men can’t help themselves?” Sort of. If not established by military authorities such “accommodations” have been semi-officially acknowledged and condoned – in some ways supported. I’ve seen for, example, free condoms handed out on the assumption they would be needed.

          “Is there an “allowance” fund for those wanting to visit prostitutes?” Even that’s sort of been done. I’ve seen where men were authorized to move out of barracks to live with local women – but not if they were married to them.

          How did we get to this point? Perhaps in part we got to point B because we started at point A. If you find yourself muddy though, the solution is not to wallow deeper in the mud, so nothing about what I’ve observed in the past changes my mind about what I’m observing now.

          • Mel

            I have no idea what that one sentence means. I wrote it at midnight, I’m sorry.

            I could go on a rant about how every time a military base is set up, especially UN forces, the human slavery and sex trafficking increase. I’m guessing that at some point young boys will be made available in the countries where the age of consent permits. In some places as young as twelve is considered the age of consent. What then? Will we have 40 year old officers claiming to have 12 year old boyfriends? I doubt that we have the same situations condoned for heterosexuals. We are seeing what is obviously a double standard. The homosexual abuses will not be covered in the media because there is an agenda. It will be the same as the substandard abortion clinics where women die. Evil choices will not be exposed for their consequences.

            As for the laws on the books that cause Petraeus to resign, they are enforced as they are called on to be enforced. We have laws that say if a parent doesn’t pay child support they are in contempt of court. It is up to the parent that isn’t receiving the money to pursue it however because no one else cares. Then that parent has to weigh out the cost, chances of winning in court and the repercussions if it causes the offending parent to lose their job.
            People that are cheated on in the military most often do not pursue having the law enforced because the punishment actually comes back on the family that is left behind.

            So yes this special consideration is the result of hypocrisy and sin ignored. The fact that there are people that claim to be Christian applauding it for whatever their twisted reasoning is just a sign of how much worse it is going to get.

  • Sam

    Joe, this feels like “I don’t like homosexuality. The military is getting some sort of special privilege. Did I mention I don’t like homosexuality?”

    It’s not affecting family structure more then it use too, Christians aren’t being persecuted because of it. We are talking about the Military allowing for special circumstances because of differences in state jurisdictional laws.

    You’re only argument against it is that a hypothetical similar case dosn’t get that same special treatment.
    So: Why shouldn’t both homosexuals and underage marriers get the same privilege to have time off for marriage?
    Note: Because one is homosexual marriage isn’t a great answer.

    We are all as sad as each other that homosexual marriage has become the norm, but do we have to complain every time legislation is updated to better reflect this reality?

    • Joe Carter

      I think you’re missing the most troubling aspect of this change. In every other circumstance (that I can think of) service members are required to comply with the local and state laws where they are stationed. That includes the laws regulating marriage. The Pentagon has never, for any other reason, said that if the local law prohibits you from doing something that you want and that is allowed in another state, that you’ll get special time off to travel to another state. This really is an unprecedented move.

      Everyone in the military gets 30 days leave a year. Yet now, some people will get 37 days just because they engage in a particular type of sexual relationship. Basic fairness would be cause enough for concern. But the military’s action is a clear sign that they are taking sides on a “gay rights” issue in which they should remain neutral.

      • Lou G.


      • Guest

        Do they get the extra 7 days just one time (for getting married) or do they get it every year?

        • Mel

          They get it so that they can travel to get married. Why it doesn’t come out of their regular leave time like everyone else’s is the question.

      • Sam

        Thanks for the reply. I didn’t understand the gravity of the overriding of state laws. (Being from Australia with a fairly different legislative system.)

  • Andy Thaxton

    My chosen profession is bringing me closer than ever to becoming a walking contradiction as a follower of Jesus Christ. What has been historically a proudly apolitical organization, the Department of Defense has become increasingly used as a captive test-bed for secularist, immoral agendas… and I’m a part of it. Now I can be forced to approve leave requests for behavior I can’t in good conscience approve of. Where do I draw the line?

    The military has long been recognized for its ability to stay above (or below if you prefer) the political fray in Washington. Civilian leaders give the orders from on high, the Pentagon brass salutes smartly with an “Aye, aye Sir,” and the order is executed. At no point in the ensuing long lines of command, do service members have the option of weighing in on the matter at hand, and rightfully so. The protection of our freedoms requires strict obedience to lawful orders and regulations meant to safeguard our way of life. Lives have always been on the line and firm adherence to orders has been and should remain the bedrock of good order and discipline within the U.S. military. After all, the mission of the Department of Defense “is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.” It’s sort of a big deal. But what happens when the military, a true microcosm of society made up of individuals with individual beliefs and faith, becomes our civilian leaders’ own little play pen of carnality. It’s all so disheartening to me.

  • Mel

    With all the sexual harassment and rape allegation in the news of female personnel and in light of the special treatment homosexuals are now receiving, you have to wonder what kind of justice there will be regarding homosexual rape. I can imagine all kinds of horrible scenarios in this area because of preferential treatment.

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