Military Going Gay: Benefits for same-sex couples to begin Sept. 1

gay militaryThe Pentagon plans to begin issuing identification cards to the same-sex partners of service members beginning Sept. 1, according to an internal personnel Web posting on Thursday.

The dependents’ ID cards will entitle partners to scores of benefits, as outlined by then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in a February policy decision.

The ID card Web notice refers to same-sex domestic partners as “SSDPs.”

The benefits include education, survivor, commissary, travel, counseling and transportation, but not what some consider the armed forces’ premium perks — health care and housing allowances.

Mr. Panetta said the federal Defense of Marriage Act restricts those benefits to heterosexual couples, though the Pentagon has not ruled out offering them to homosexual couples at some point.

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