The U.S. Navy announced it will start providing gay sailors who are stationed in Japan with military benefits that are equal to what married heterosexual couples receive.
That's a dramatic flip of policy. The Washington Post reported that naval officials reversed their previous ban on that benefit provision on the heels of a discussion with Japanese officials that struck a new agreement over the term "spouse." Under the new agreement, spouses include all individuals legally married to Defense Department members.
"We are thankful for the support of the Japanese government as we worked through this review and in supporting our efforts to meet the DOD guidance," said Lt. Col. David Honchul, a spokesman for the U.S. armed forces in Japan, in The Washington Post.
The Navy sent a notice to personnel that it's added Japan to its deployment list for gay couples.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered earlier this year that the military had to treat legally married couples the same, whether they were heterosexual or homosexual, to keep in line with the Supreme Court overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
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