Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the new Department of Defense policy on military benefits for same-sex partners:
“Today’s announcement by the Department of Defense that certain benefits are being extended to same-sex partners of military personnel is an important step in the right direction. Military spouses and families play a central role in our troops’ readiness and well-being, and discrimination has no place in our Armed Forces. With the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ our military is working to create an environment where all who wish to serve their nation can do so, and today’s change continues this effort to shape a stronger and more inclusive force.
“However, while the new policy is encouraging, the Pentagon’s efforts to recruit the most qualified talent are still hindered by the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and its restrictive definition of ‘spouse.’ The recent death of Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan demonstrates the real human toll on military families of this discriminatory policy, as the woman she legally married is unable to receive survivor benefits. This case, and others like it, serve as a stark reminder why the Supreme Court should overturn this unfair law.
“In the meantime, I hope the Pentagon will continue exploring ways to open more benefits to same-sex partners and create a more equal service environment that reflects a commitment to the values our military personnel excel at defending around the world.”