Military members in same-sex relationships could get up to 10 days of leave to travel to states where they can be legally wed, according to a memo obtained this week by The Associated Press.
Written by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the proposal would also grant health, housing and other benefits to same-sex spouses of military personnel by the end of August. In February, the Pentagon moved to extend some benefits to same-sex partners who signed a declaration of their commitment, but housing was not included in the initial plans. In the wake of the Supreme Court's reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act, though, a more inclusive benefits plan based on marriage has become feasible.
Still, same-sex couples are only allowed to marry in 13 states and D.C. Allowing a special leave provision for LGBT military members to go tie the knot somewhere the marriage would be legally recognized takes a nice step toward correcting the disparity. (Then again, by not giving straight couples the same leave, the Pentagon -- which is all about equal treatment now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is over -- would be setting itself up for some grumbling.)
Here's hoping this passes, if only for the proliferation of same-sex Marine couples strolling by the Inner Harbor hand-in-hand.
With that picturesque post-DOMA image in your head, let's march onto other news:
- If you've been reading this blog since July, you've likely heard about Russia's anti-gay propaganda law. If you've been watching Fox News since July, you likely haven't -- nor are you likely reading this blog. According to an Equality Matters report, Fox News has been ignoring Russia's anti-LGBT discrimination law and the controversy now surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics. Look, in the cable network's defense, somebody has to pave the way for NBC.
- With kids gearing up to go back to school, nonprofit Focus on the Family thinks it's "Orwellian" to tell children that "same-sex relationships" exist. Russia's anti-gay propaganda law was passed in much the same spirit.
- As of this week, same-sex couples in Uruguay can now be legally married.
- How excited was the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam to present its first visa to a same-sex spouse? Excited enough for the Consul General to hand it to the applicant in person and pose for a photo.
- AIDS activist Sean Sasser, maybe best known for marrying Pedro Zamora on "The Real World," died Wednesday night.
- High-profile coming outs this week: Rutgers' new athletic director Julie Hermann, Young Democrats of America president Rod Snyder, actors Ben Wishaw and Troye Sivan, and actress Raven-Symone. So ladies, next time you come out, expect someone to say "That's so Raven!" (Note: It'll be me. I'm sorry.)
- Message to gay guys going gaga over Olympic diver Tom Daley: He "really appreciate[s]" you. Yes, you.
Done swooning over Tom Daley? What news have you been talking about this week?Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun