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Pentagon moves to extend benefits to gay couples

US Defense officials estimate 18,000 same-sex couples among ranks

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Credit: Glenn Fawcett

The United States Pentagon says it will start the process of extending healthcare, housing and other federal benefits to the same-sex spouses of military members.

The June 26 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) paves the way for gay married couples to receive federal benefits.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the same day that the Pentagon will start the process of extending benefits as soon as possible.

It’s estimated by Defense Department officials that there are 18,000 same-sex couples in active duty in the US military, National Guard and Reserves — but it’s unknown how many are legally married. 

A fact sheet about how the DOMA ruling will affect military spouses is one of 14 released by Lambda Legal that provide details on how the death of DOMA will affect the most important US federal laws.

The Pentagon had earlier announced that by Oct 1 it would extend some health and welfare benefits and access to on-base commissaries to same-sex partners.

The DOMA ruling may permit same-sex spouses to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.

On Dec 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. The ban on being openly gay in the US military took effect in September 2011.