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    Posted February 11, 2013 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    Defense Moves Toward Equality for Same-Gender Spouses


    Outgoing  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is not breaking down the door, but is  leaving it ajar as the Department of Defense announced today that some  benefits would be awarded to legal same-gender spouses of service  members. This is a big step forward, but kept to limited benefits by the  1996 Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA is up for review in March by the  Supreme Court which is being asked to rule that non-recognition of  same-gender marriages legally granted in nine states is  unconstitutional.

    I  highlighted the issue of same-gender spouses not receiving equality  though legally married to service members back on January 22, in my  article: "Fight, Bleed, Die - Equality, No".  Since that time there has been a push across the nation calling on the  Pentagon and Congress to address the issue. Today, though not 100%, the  DoD did just that.

    In making the announcement, Panetta pointed out that DOMA was a roadblock to full equality. Panetta also said, "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.

    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."

    Within  the next 60 days a plan is to be implemented which will provide for  such benefits as military identification cards and commissary privileges  for same-gender spouses. While full equality has not been reached, this  is moving the conversation and the action in the right direction.

    From  the Cornfield, step by step, little win by little win, equality will  hopefully be enjoyed by all Americans within my lifetime.



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