DOD Adopts Uniform Policy on Same-Sex Marriage

Last week Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard) will comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor ruling by September 3, 2013. Windsor declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

Sec. Hagel explained that the domestic partner provisions put in place in February will be supplanted by official recognition of same-sex marriages. Recognizing that many same-sex couples have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry, the Department of Defense has amended Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06 “Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures” to allow “non-chargeable marriage leave where a Service member is a part of a same-sex couple and is assigned to a duty station located more than 100 miles from a U.S. state (or the District of Columbia) that allows same-sex couples to get married.”  Eligible Service members may be granted non-chargeable leave for up to 7 days if they are assigned within the continental U.S (CONUS).  If they are stationed outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS), they will be granted non-chargeable leave for a period of up to 10 days. Same-sex couples will be able to use this nonchargeable marriage leave once in their career.

The memo indicates that there could be more changes to follow, as the Joint Benefits Review Working Group is focusing its efforts on extending spousal benefits to same-sex spouses.  It also gave a firm timeline for enforcement stating that all entitlements are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision, June 26, 2013.  

Read the memoranda here:
Extending Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of Military Members

Further Guidance on Extending Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of Military Members

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