Pentagon allows benefits for same-sex spouses in military

Pentagon allows benefits for same-sex spouses in military

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon says it will make health care, housing and other benefits available to same-sex spouses of military members by Sept. 3.

That's good news for openly gay Marines like Cpl. Glen McDaniel, who says his orientation is often an overlooked form of discrimination.

"I was told the other week that I didn't know what discrimination was like, just because I'm a white male," McDaniel said. "It's almost like it didn't count."

The Pentagon said Wednesday that it reached the decision after consulting with the Justice Department, following the Supreme Court's ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The benefits, such as housing and health care, will be made available to same-sex spouses as long as the service member provides a valid marriage certificate. Although North Carolina doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, those based here can travel to a state that allows it, get married, and will be eligible to receive those benefits.

"Whether it's by race, gender, and identity -- it's still discrimination, and it's still something that needs to end," McDaniel said. "A lot of people have fought for this for several years, and I think it's about time that it happened."

Military personnel in a same-sex relationship who are stationed in a state that does not permit same-sex marriage will be allowed to take leave for travel to a jurisdiction where they can marry legally.

Veterans like James Curlee don't agree with the change.

"I don't think we should sponsor two men living together or two women living together as lovers, if you know what I mean," Curlee said.

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