US military extends benefits to same-sex partners
"It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country. The department already provides a group of benefits that are member-designated. Today, I am pleased to announce that after a thorough and deliberate review, the department will extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members," he said.
"Taking care of our service members and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation. Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation," Panetta said.
Panetta said one of the legal limitations to providing all benefits at this time is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land.
There are certain benefits that can only be provided to spouses as defined by that law, which is now being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, he said.
"While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defence, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation. Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all
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