Memo Outlines Pentagon's New Plan for Same-Sex Benefits

Leaked memo outlines Pentagon's new plan for same-sex married couples.


A leaked Defense Department memo indicates the military will grant basic benefits to same-sex partners of service members.

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The spouses of gay and lesbian service members could receive full military benefits by the end of this month if the Pentagon approves a new proposal.

[READ: Post-DOMA, Gay Troops' Spouses Can Be Buried at Arlington]

The draft policy, outlined in a memo obtained by the Associated Press, bolsters Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's initial proposal to allow same-sex partners access to limited benefits, such as military stores and some medical services if they signed a legal declaration.

It would also grant some leeway to service members who wish to wed their partner by offering 10 days of leave to travel to one of the 13 states, as well as D.C., that allows same-sex marriage.

This follows news in June that the military would allow the spouses of all service-members to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, among other benefits, which was enacted after the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

"As the Supreme Court's ruling has made it possible for same-sex couples to marry and be afforded all benefits available to any military spouse and family, I have determined, consistent with the unanimous advice of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the spousal and family benefits far outweigh the benefits that could be extended under a declaration system," Hagel wrote in the memo, according to Time.

[BROWSE: Political Cartoons on Same-Sex Marriage]

A Pentagon spokesman said it is working with the Department of Justice "to implement the court's decision as quickly as possible," Time reports.

Congress repealed the military's ban on gays, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in 2011. The Defense Department has slowly drawn increased attention and support to its gay service members through an annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Transgender people may only serve as civilians in the Department of Defense, and are still forbidden from serving openly in uniform.

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