The Department of Defense, DOD, announced Wednesday plans to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
A press release issued by the DOD said spousal and family benefits will be available no later than Sept. 3, 2013. As long as service members provide a valid marriage certificate TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance will be available to all couples regardless of sexual orientation.
This move comes after the Supreme Court's ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Any claims to entitlements before that date of the decision will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.
The DOD said they are committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military and their families are treated fairly and equally as the law directs. The department will implement policies to allow military personnel to use non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where same-sex marriages may occur.
For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor's guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.