By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
DOD facilities are gearing up to issue identification cards to same-sex spouses beginning Sept. 3, Pentagon officials said Aug. 20.
“All spousal and family benefits, including ID cards, will be made available no later than Sept. 3, 2013,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen.
The Supreme Court decision to overturn portions of the Defense of Marriage Act made it possible for the department to recognize same-sex marriages.
“The department will make the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction — including those overseas — that recognizes same-sex marriage,” Christensen said.
Entitlements such as basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision — June 26, 2013. For service members married after that date, the entitlements will be paid from the date of the marriage.
Tricare — the military health care program — is tied to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. TRICARE will be available to same-sex spouses beginning Sept. 3, 2013.
There are 15 countries that recognize same-sex marriage. In the United States, 13 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.
Many U.S. service members live in jurisdictions that do not recognize same-sex marriages. As operational requirements permit, commanders may allow military personnel in same-sex relationships up to 10 days of non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction that allows same-sex couples to be married if they are stationed more than 100 miles from one of those areas.
“Personnel stationed within the continental United States may receive up to seven days non-chargeable leave and those stationed at overseas assignments may receive up to 10 days non-chargeable leave,” Christensen said.