Conflict & Justice

Pentagon grants same-sex military couples marriage leave


Marine Jaime Rincon marches down University Avenue, with other military personel, during the San Diego Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, July 16, 2011 in San Diego, California.


Sandy Huffaker

The Pentagon announced Wednesday that all couples serving in the US military, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be given up to 10 days off so they can marry in states where that is legal.

Also on Wednesday, California's Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is still legal in the state. The court decision did not take on the arguments put forth by supporters of Proposition 8, which seeks to ban same-sex marriage in California, potentially leaving it open to further legal challenge, according to AP

Meanwhile, the Pentagon's new provisions take effect on September 3, according to NBC News

Service members in the United States get seven days off and those abroad will get 10, Bloomberg said, citing a memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

A senior military official told NBC on Tuesday that service-members in states where same-sex marriage is prohibited will also be given 10 days off to allow for travel time, but that could not be independently confirmed. 

The Defense Department said the move, which comes two months after the Supreme Court extended benefits to same-sex couples, is meant to "help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married." 

Same-sex couples will be granted spousal and family benefits starting no later than September 3 as long as they can present a valid marriage certificate, said the Pentagon. 

The June 26 ruling by the Supreme Court, which struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, granted key benefits to same-sex spouses, including military health benefits and other entitlements, said The Washington Post

The military revoked its ban on openly gay service-members in September 2011. 

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