Defense Department: Same-sex spouse benefits take effect Sept. 3

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM.

The Department of Defense will extend benefits to uniformed service members and DOD civilian employees’ same-sex spouses by Sept. 3, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

The decision follows consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies and review of the Defense Department's benefit policies following the Supreme Court's ruling that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Benefits such as TRICARE enrollment, basic housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision. For members married after June 26, 2013, benefits begin at the marriage date.

DOD will grant non-chargeable leave to same-sex military couples who must travel from their stationed area to marry legally in another jurisdiction. This will accelerate access to full benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married, a DOD spokesperson said.

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