BREAKING NEWS: Defense Department to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Couples
The Department of Defense released a memo today outlining a plan to extend benefits to same-sex partners of military members. Some benefits extended to same-sex partners include child care, youth programs, legal assistance, disability and death compensation, and the right to visit a loved one in the hospital. The announcement fails to extend full health care benefits because federal law still prohibits same-sex couples from receiving them.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for a change in military procedure "to ensure fairness and equal treatment and to take care of all of our Service members and their families, to the extent allowable under law."
In an interview with USA Today, Panetta said he does not expect resistance to the benefits extension once troops are fully educated on the issue. "When it comes to benefits, we've got to lay some of the same groundwork," Panetta said in the interview. "You just have got to educate people. People who are serving in the military and putting their lives on the line deserve some of the benefits that go with that. We've just got to be able to tie those two together in a way that the military understands and accepts."
The military now has a 60 day window to determine the extent at which these benefits will be extended. The new benefits are expected to go into full effect no later than August 31st of this year.
OutServe-SLDN, an association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, has released a guide containing more information about what these changes mean for service members.
Media Resources: "Extending benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Military Members" 2/11/2013; MSNBC 2/11/2013; USA Today 2/11/2013; OutServe-SLDN 2/11/2013
9/12/2014 Violence Against Women Act Turns 20 - Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of the groundbreaking federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Passed in 1994, VAWA was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued a proclamation commemorating the VAWA anniversary. . . .
9/12/2014 Indiana Woman Charged With Feticide For Premature Delivery - An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide after she delivered prematurely and sought hospital treatment.
Purvi Patel, 33, sought help at an emergency room for vaginal bleeding where it was discovered that she had delivered prematurely at home. . . .