Pentagon officials announced today that the military will soon grant benefits to same-sex couples, but they will be severely limited in what they can and cannot grant because of federal law.
Officials at the Pentagon would not say which new benefits the department has determined it can extend to same-sex couples without violating the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that bars the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex unions. Gay rights advocates have called for benefits including housing privileges, access to base recreational facilities and joint duty assignments for couples who are in the military.
Legal experts say, however, that the Pentagon will be unable to extend over 100 benefits while the Defense of Marriage Act remains in place.
The new guidelines will be departing Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta’s final imprint on the armed forces.
The good news, or bad news, depending on your perspective, is that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month and will rule in June whether or not DOMA will remain intact.
I believe the law will be struck down, but we won’t know for sure until this Summer.(h/t Price Benowitz LLP)