A bill, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012 [MSET], has been introduced in Congress and it would change the definition of "spouse" in four areas of U.S. Code related to recognition, support, and benefits for married service members and veterans. These changes would ensure that spouses of the same gender are eligible for key military benefits.
Equality say what?
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network [SLDN] says: "Our nation's senior military leaders and commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support and benefits for our nation's service members - one for straight service members and a different one for their gay and lesbian peers. There cannot be two classes of service members, and this legislation addresses that effectively."
And, in addition, the Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson also mentioned the disparity between same-sex and opposite-sex couples: "The repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' exposes certain inequalities between similarly situated couples in the military community. This troubles many of our leaders."
The bill was introduced by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, and Democrat...naturally...Adam Smith of Washington. His bill adds a favorable definition of "spouse" to Title 37 to provide greater uniformity of benefits for same-sex spouses. Together with MSET, this new bill would extend dozens of important spousal benefits and support programs to same-gender spouses, including coverage under TriCare insurance, an increased housing allowance, and survivor benefits.As it should be, if all things were equal. So let's hope this bill passes, because a step for same-sex married couples anywhere is progress for same-sex couples everywhere.