Leon Panetta is on his way out as the Secretary of Defense, but he’s reportedly planning to issue a directive that grants the married same-sex partners of military personnel some benefits, but not all. It’s not clear yet what particular benefits because of DOMA:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not made a final decision on which benefits will be included, the officials said, but the Pentagon is likely to allow same-sex partners to have access to the on-base commissary and other military subsidized stores, as well as some health and welfare programs.
Panetta must walk a fine, legal line. While there has been increased pressure on the Pentagon to extend some benefits to same-sex partners, defense officials must be careful not to violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The federal law forbids the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than those between a man and a woman.
An announcement is expected to come in the next several days. Officials discussed the plan on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly speak about internal Pentagon deliberations.
This is yet another reason why DOMA has to go, either by repeal (not very likely at this point) or court order (considerably more likely).
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