- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Same-sex spouses of service members and Pentagon civilians will be able to access military benefits by Sept. 3 as long as they present a valid marriage certificate to the proper authorities, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

The Pentagon also will provide leave to same-sex couples to travel to a state that permits gay marriage so that they may wed.

The announcement follows the Supreme Court’s overturning of part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June. At that time, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that all military spouses would begin receiving the same benefits regardless of sexual orientation.

Some benefits — including health insurance, housing allowances, and family separation allowance — are to be applied retroactively to June 26, the date of the Supreme Court decision. No claims to entitlements before that date will be granted, a Pentagon statement said.

For same-sex personnel married after June 26, their entitlements will begin at the date of their marriage.

It is unclear if the Treasury Department will reimburse gay households whose married partners paid higher taxes because they were forced to file as individuals.

“The Department of Defense 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,” the statement said.