Image via Passport
Same-sex military couples will soon enjoy the same benefits as traditional military couples. According to the AP, full benefits will be extended to same-sex couples by the military, including housing and health care benefits, but the couples have to be married. The military will grant couples a leave of 10 days in order for them to travel where it is legal for same-sex couples to be married. This is a part of the policies that the Pentagon had promised to implement to recognize same-sex military couples, following the DOMA ruling by the Supreme Court.
Read more after the jump… Read more…
Categories: DOMA, gay families, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Gay Travel, military, Pentagon Chuck Hagel, defense secretary, doma, gay soldiers, gays in the military, pentagon, same-sex
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Is Sea World discriminating against the gay community? The world-famous attraction that also includes Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country USA, and Sesame Place has been allowing free entry to husbands/wives of active service members, a perk that opposite-sex couples get to enjoy. As part of the program, Waves of Honor, a service member is entitled to a free one-time admission for themselves and three direct dependents. Sexual orientation should not prevent our service men and women from enjoying an honors program with their significant other that was meant to thank them for risking their lives and serving in our military. If homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military and risk their lives so places like Sea World can exist; then Sea World, of all places, should not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation or any other reason.
Categories: gay families, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Gay Travel bush gardens, dadt, florida, gay americans, gay families, gay soldiers, gays in the military, Sea World
Image via Passport.
The Pentagon announced that it would extend equal benefits to lesbian and gay service members and their families over the coming months. Believed to be the final policy move of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s tenure, this announcement guarantees some, but not all, of the benefits the Pentagon currently provides to the families of straight military personnel, according to the HRC. “Seventeen months ago, the United States military ended the policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Panetta said today in a statement announcing the decision. “At the time of repeal, I committed to reviewing benefits that had not previously been available to same-sex partners based on existing law and policy. It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country.”
“Today, the Pentagon took a historic step forward toward righting the wrong of inequality in our armed forces, but there is still more work to be done. Gay and lesbian service members and their families make sacrifices every day, and this country owes them every measure of support we can provide. Since the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the Obama administration has shown true leadership on this issue. But even today, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act makes inequality for gay and lesbian military families a legal requirement,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
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More good news out of Washington this week as the Pentagon announced it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses. The new benefits will “include housing privileges, access to base recreational facilities and joint duty assignments for uniformed couples.” The one much-needed benefit, though, that the Pentagon will continue to deny gay spouses is health care as the Defense of Marriage Act will prevent the federal government from doing so. “If you provide benefits to individuals seen as the most deserving and the social fabric doesn’t tear, that does make it easier down the line to do away with DOMA…It could be a flanking maneuver to keep chipping away at it,” said Tammy S. Schultz, the director of the National Security and Joint Warfare Program at the Marine Corps War College. [WP]
Image via the White House.
In a recently released photo, Michelle Obama greets David Hall who will be one of the eight Citizen Co-Chairs for the this Monday’s Inauguration. David Hall who is a former Air Force Sergeant who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and currently serves as director of development for OutServe-SLDN. “This is certainly the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to President Obama for his leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so that no qualified American who wants to serve this country in uniform will ever again be denied that right simply because they are gay or lesbian,” Hall said in a statement released by OutServe-SLDN. “There is a great deal more to do on the road to full LGBT equality in our military, but it’s important for us to take a moment this weekend to honor the leadership of this president and recognize just how far we have come,” said Allyson Robinson, executive director of OutServe-SLDN. “There could be no better personification of that than former Air Force Sergeant David Hall.”
Same-sex spouses of those in the Marine Corp at Fort Bragg will now be permitted access to its club. This new order is a result of the exclusion of Ashley Broadway, a same-sex military spouse at Fort Bragg, NC. Broadway was denied membership because she did not have a military ID card, a card only granted to spouses of the opposite sex according to current Pentagon regulations.Today an email notified Bragg that she would be allowed access to the club with “Friends of Bragg” passes. This pass will only be granted to same-sex spouses that have a marriage certificate from one of the states that perform same-sex marriages. This pass, although granted, will not permit shopping privileges at the post exchange or commissary or any special services. The “Friends” pass is only valid at this particular facility. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been urged to implement a rule that allows same-sex spouses access to all facilities
Categories: Gay Rights, Gay Travel, Lesbian "Friends of Bragg", Ashley Broadway, Fort Brag, gay marines, gay soldiers, gays in the military, lesbian soldiers, Marine Corp, Same-Sex Military Wife, Same-Sex Spouse, Sectary of Defense Leon Panetta
It’s been one hell of a year. We’ve seen it all—both good and bad. And for this week, we’re reminding you of all the moments that have changed the travel world and the LGBT world—our world.
Major Shannon McLaughlin and her wife Casey, lead plaintiffs in SLDN’s landmark case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Image via SLDN’s Facebook.
Today, the United States military has passed a bill recognizing marriage for lesbian and gay service members called the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012. Previously, spouses of lesbian and gay military personnel weren’t recognized by the law and therefore, weren’t given the benefits that straight spouses were given. According to Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, “Our nation’s senior military leaders and commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support and benefits for our nation’s service members – one for straight service members and a different one for their gay and lesbian peers. There cannot be two classes of service members, and this legislation addresses that effectively.” For that reason, this bill is a significant step closer to a future with equality for all service members.
Find out more after the jump…
Brenda Sue Fulton, left, and Penelope Gnesin exchange vows during their wedding Saturday at West Point Photo via USA Today by Jeff Sheng.
The country’s most prestigious military academy, West Point, hosted the first same-sex marriages at the Academy’s Cadet Chapel. Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton were married in a service conducted by a senior Army Chaplain Col. J. Wesley Smith of Dover Air Force Base. The couple, from New Jersey, have been together for 17 years and had a civil ceremony in 1999, but they wanted to make it official. “We just couldn’t wait any longer,” Fuller said. Initially the couple had some difficulty finding someone to marry them in the chapel because they were told that none of the chaplains came from a denomination where gay or lesbian marriage was allowed. You may have heard of Fuller, she is not only a veteran, but also the communications director of OutServe. She made headlines last year, when she was appointed by President Obama as the first openly gay person to serve on the West Point Board of Visitors. While the two were the first to be married in the chapel, the first couple to be married at West Point was a small wedding between Fulton’s friends in a different venue. [USAToday]
Supporters of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Image via Facebook.
As most of us thought would be the case, a landmark DADT academic study reveled that integrating openly gay soldiers into the armed forces has had no negative effect on the military, but has actually improved relations among troops. The study, which began before the repeal, was conducted by The Palm Center and analyzed both on-site research, interviews, empirical data, and surveys. Among the many findings:
(1) Only two service members, both chaplains, were identified as having left the military as a result of DADT repeal; (2) A Pentagon spokesperson told the study’s co-authors that she was not aware of a single episode of violence associated with repeal; (3) Pentagon data show that recruitment and retention remained robust after repeal; (4) Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of morale after repeal as they did prior to repeal; (5) Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of readiness after repeal as they did prior to repeal.
Check out all of the findings by clicking here
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Barbara Walters will serve as emcee for the upcoming event, “Celebrating Our Heroes,” scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 18 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City, which is set to mark the first anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The event will be a tribute to all American service members and will honor former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who played a significant leadership role in repeal, which took place on September 20, 2011. “The addition of Barbara Walters as our emcee for the evening makes an already exciting lineup even more spectacular. It’s only fitting that America’s most influential and accomplished journalist – who has made history herself a time or two – would join us for this historic and emotional event,” said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.