Pentagon Proposes to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses - NBC 7 San Diego

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Pentagon Proposes to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses



    Same-sex spouses of service members are now recognized by the military but they still don't get the same benefits as spouses in heterosexual marriages.

    Those benefits include things like healthcare, housing, and survivor benefits, and the Pentagon has drafted a proposal for how to extend them to same-sex military spouses.

    According to a Department of Defense official, it's under review by the Department of Justice but some say it won't solve all the problems.

    Lori Hensic is a newlywed. Her spouse is a Marine, but when it comes to benefits, Lori's not a Marine wife.

    Proposal Under Review to Bring Benefits to Same-Sex Military Spouses

    [DGO] Proposal Under Review to Bring Benefits to Same-Sex Military Spouses
    A proposal is under review to potentially bring benefits to same-sex spouses in the military. NBC 7's Lea Sutton reports.
    (Published Friday, Aug. 9, 2013)

    That's because Lori's spouse is a woman and although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law preventing the military from recognizing gay marriages, The Pentagon has yet to extend spousal benefits.

    "So should something happen to her, I would not be informed - anything from the range of should she get hurt to should she fall casualty while she is serving our nation, I would not be the first to be informed,” Hensic said.

    So for now, Lori doesn't have medical benefits normally provided to military spouses and her wife doesn't get paid the same as her married heterosexual colleagues.

    "For us it would be about $400 per month. You multiply that out per year and that's a couple thousand dollars per year that we could be missing out," she said.

    The Pentagon is working to correct the issue.

    Under the current DoD proposal, same-sex spouses could get healthcare, housing and other benefits by the end of the month.

    But for same-sex couples stationed in states where they can't get married, Hensic said there will still be a problem

    "Individuals who are maybe residing in Hawaii or out of country have to spend thousands of dollars just to get married so their husband or wife will get the benefits that heterosexual couples don't have to spend that money to get," she said.

    We did reach out to the Defense Department Thursday for comment on this story but they did not get back to us by deadline.

    However in a statement they provided to the Associated Press, a DoD official said that the Pentagon is working alongside the Department of Justice to implement the court's decision as quickly as possible.