HRC Calls on Secretary Panetta to Issue Military IDs to All Spouses and Partners

by HRC Staff

Order from Secretary Panetta would continue to bolster equality within the military


Washington– The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is calling on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to immediately allow all military spouses access to a military ID. Despite the implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, military regulations still prevent same-sex spouses from receiving a military ID – thereby denying them equal access to a wide range of on-base benefits and amenities.

HRC’s members and supports can call on Secretary Panetta to take action and immediately order, through the stroke of his pen, all same-sex spouses to have access to a military ID. The action is available here.

The issue is particularly relevant because a U.S. Army spokesperson recently backed a decision by a spousal association at Fort Bragg to deny admittance to the same-sex wife of an Army officer. The Marine Corps Commandant, meanwhile, took the exemplary step of instructing clubs at all Marine bases to welcome same-sex spouses as a condition of continued operation on Marine installations.

“It’s been two years since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and with Secretary Panetta set to leave office in a few weeks, ensuring all military spouses receive equal treatment is an important step forward toward full equality in our armed services,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We’re grateful for Secretary Panetta’s leadership over the past few years, but this is an issue that is creating challenges on a daily basis for our military families – and it’s an obstacle that he can take immediate action to resolve.”

During Panetta’s tenure at the Pentagon, he became the first Secretary of Defense to record a Pride message for gay and lesbian service members. And just today, Panetta lifted a controversial ban on women in combat, a move that will allow female service members to serve on the front lines of battle. Panetta now has a final opportunity to continue advancing equality - access to military ID cards can be granted to same-sex spouses and partners through regulatory revisions, without running afoul of the Defense of Marriage Act.  

HRC’s action calling on Secretary Panetta to green light IDs for same-sex military spouses can be accessed at

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.

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