WASHINGTON (AP) — Same-sex spouses of military members will be eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses starting Sept. 3, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
The decision follows consultation with the Justice Department and the Supreme Court’s ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“It is now the department’s policy to treat all married military personnel equally,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in memo Wednesday to senior Pentagon officials.
The Defense of Marriage Act prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than that between a man and a woman. In late June, the Supreme Court cleared the way for legally married gay couples to be recognized under federal law.
The Associated Press reported last week that Hagel was considering the new benefits proposal.
The benefits will be made available to same-sex spouses as long as the service member provides a valid marriage certificate. But earlier plans to provide benefits to unmarried gay partners have been dropped, officials said Wednesday.