Benefits to be extended to same-sex spouses of military service members

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Benefits will be extended to same-sex spouses of uniformed military service members and civilian defense employees, the Department of Defense announced on Wednesday.

"After a review of the department's benefit policies following the Supreme Court's ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate," reads a release from the Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense says it remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.

Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted.

For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.

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