February 11, 2013
HRC Praises Pentagon’s Extension of Additional Benefits to Gay and Lesbian Military Families
Discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act still prevents gay and lesbian service members from enjoying full equality
Washington — The Human Rights Campaign praised the Pentagon's announcement that it would extend a slate of 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. Though this is a meaningful step forward, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still prevents gay and lesbian military families from enjoying full equality.
HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
"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.
It's time to right this wrong. When the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of DOMA in the coming weeks, they should take note of the real harm this law inflicts every day. The Court should reflect on the sacrifice made by Americans like Staff Sergeant Tracy Johnson, whose wife was killed in action late last year, or the family of Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, who succumbed to cancer earlier this week. In both cases, DOMA barred specific benefits that could soften the tragic blow of the loss of a loved one. The Court should strike down this hateful law once and for all so that this country can finally guarantee full equality for all who serve."
The DOD memorandum on the changes can be found here: http://www.defense.gov/news/Same-SexBenefitsMemo.pdf.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.