My Congressman has proposed a bill to grant all the same benefits to all military spouses. One of the three largest land bases in CONUS, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is in his district, althought of course only a few there vote in here. Current the applicable law is based on wording lifted from DOMA and precludes this.
Smith’s bill, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012, would define the term “spouse” in federal laws governing military benefits as any individual who has entered into a valid marriage.
The benefits currently withheld are surviving spouse benefits, medical and dental insurance, housing, treatment in military medical facilities and free legal services. all of them are significant – treatment in military medical facilites is often the only health care available to family members overseas, and of course the suriving spouse benefits are a big one too – that’s military retirement payments.
This is a prefectly reasonable and predictable move, and the speed with which Congressman Smith is making it is a credit to him.
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