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HRC calls on Panetta to include “every benefit possible under the law”
WASHINGTON – In response to news that the Pentagon would be extending certain benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian military personnel, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
“We welcome the news that benefits will be extended to the same-sex spouses and partners of gay and lesbian service members, and urge Secretary Panetta to make sure every benefit possible under the law is included. This is the logical next step in ensuring all our military families are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, HRC has called on the Pentagon to change its policies that currently deny many benefits from gay and lesbian service members and their families. As part of ongoing effort to achieve full equality in the military, HRC has called on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses and extend every possible benefit not specifically barred by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The revisions would ensure same-sex spouses in the military receive the same benefits afforded all other service members.
Some of the regulatory changes Panetta could make with the stroke a pen include:
Such actions have already been taken, for example, by the State Department to extend benefits to the partners and spouses of Foreign Service officers and by OPM to extend sick leave, long-term care insurance, travel and relocation assistance, and other benefits to civilian federal employees.
“The military leadership have dragged their feet long enough,” Griffin added. “Two years after ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was relegated to the dustbin of history, it’s time for our heroes in arms to finally receive the justice they deserve.”
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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