POSTED: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 3:54pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 7:36pm
FORT BLISS, TEXAS (KTSM) — The Department of Defense announced Wednesday it's plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and defense department civilian employees.
The move comes after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June. Legally married same-sex military couples will be granted spousal and family benefits by September 3rd. This includes healthcare, housing benefits and family leave time. For same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a state that allows same sex marriage, the DOD will give those soldiers or military personnel,time off to travel to get married in a state where it is legal.
"We think we treat all men and women equally that serve in the military as well as in the civilian workforce and you know we're gonna have our policies that are complying with DOD and those directed by law and so this is the right step forward for our nation,” said LTC. Lee Peters with Fort Bliss.
One soldier said while this is a big move for the military, it still remains a controversial issue.
"Still a lot of people having to do with religion and stuff don't think that same sex marriage should be allowed. But why should we tell then who they are and are not allowed to love," said SPC. Mariza Shaffa, with Fort Bliss.
Benefits will be retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision. Any claims to benefits before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26th, benefits begin at the date of marriage.