Readers of Tom Philpott's Military Update Column Sound Off
Can you tell me if Congress has lifted the ban on concurrent receipt of both disability pay and retirement for veterans retired because of medical conditions with fewer than 20 years of service?
I haven't been able to find if it has passed. I would be one of those eligible. I was retired from the Coast Guard with 15 years of service and have a VA disability rating of 60 percent.
ROB E. Via email
It has not. Over the last two years, amid the debt crisis and federal budgets cuts through the 2011 Budget Control Act, support for expanding concurrent receipt eligibility to those who retired as a result of non-combat-related ailments has lost momentum and support at the White House and in Congress. – Tom Philpott
GAY MARRIAGE LEAVE
Why not marry people on military bases or posts with a chaplain performing the service?
Give the base commander the authority to issue marriage licenses. The reception could be held in the chow hall immediately following the service.
MARCUS HOPPER Langston, Ala.
Permission to marry falls to state or local governments in the United States. Only thirteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized same-sex marriage. Marriages performed overseas are considered valid in the country where they occur if they are entered into in accordance with local law. Not even U.S. embassy and consulate personnel can perform marriages in foreign countries.
Depending on the law of the foreign country, local civil or religious officials generally perform marriages. But recognition of the validity of marriages performed abroad in the United States is dependent upon the laws of the place in which the marriage is to be recognized, State Department officials explain. If a couple gets married abroad and needs to know if the marriage will be recognized in the United States, and what documentation may be needed, they should contact the office of the Attorney General of their state of residence in the United States.
Military chaplains may participate in any private ceremony on or off a military installation provided the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state or local law, said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. No chaplain is required to participate in or officiate at a private ceremony, however, if doing so would be against tenets of his or her faith. – T. P.
MORE ON GAY MARRIAGE LEAVE
I wish to sound off about the homosexual marriage leave. Is it possible for heterosexuals to challenge this action as discriminatory? Giving homosexuals seven days of uncharged administrative absence (ten if overseas) is not only unfair, but it lacks financial stewardship.
If the government wants to give away taxpayer-funded leave, it should be given to everyone. However, I am hopeful most taxpayers would agree there should not be free leave given away at all.
M. BUTTON Via email
People want to say gay leave is unfair. How?
In that giving males paternity leave is really stupid. They don't have the baby so what do they possibly need leave for?
For some it's not even their first child. So you feel you're entitled? How about you use your own leave.
Ignorance does not get you far in life. There are plenty of things unfair in the military. Complain about something that is legit.
S. K. Via email
When my husband and I got married 17 years ago he was stationed in North Caroline and I was living in our home of record in Kentucky. He didn't get 10 days of free leave to come marry me. In fact he had such little leave because of training exercises that we didn't even have a honeymoon.
The military used to stand for conservative American values. Today it only represents the politically correct and the liberal party destroying this country. I am so ashamed of what it has become that I am removing my children from its influence a full year early from my husband's retirement date.
I pray for those joining now as I dread what it will be like in ten to 20 years.
Talk about discrimination! This is absolute discrimination for gays to be given free leave to get married elsewhere. They need to plan accordingly and use their leave like everybody else has had to.
If the gays are getting free leave, everybody should get free leave. I've know a lot of military people who got married back in their hometowns or their spouses hometowns. If we are going to have standards of equal opportunity then the standards need to be equal.
JIM HADY Electronic Technician First Class, USN-Ret. Via email
Those who complain about granting extra leave need to help resolve this by pushing state legislatures to make marriage available to all couples willing to make this commitment to family values.
The military time-off policy is designed for fairness. We wouldn't have to do this if all states were already fair. Rise up, demand fairness in every state for all military families. We need to look after all our troops.
BRIAN DALY Lieutenant Colonel, Retired
No special group should be granted uncharged leave for any reason unless allowed to all groups. There is no reason for anyone to receive uncharged marriage leave.
I was required to take five days of leave because my unit was deploying. Then I had to pay my own transportation costs to return to my unit.
I understand this is a kinder and gentler military but treating one group better than others is not treating everyone equal.
If this stands, I expect back pay and allowances for leave I had to take to get married, twice. That would be five days' pay as an E-6 and 10 days as an E-7. That should be about $1,600.
JAMES K. PLUNK Chief Machinery Technician, USCG-Ret. Via email
I thought I saw it all in 21 years of service but I can't believe the new DOD leave policy.
I am retired so it should not concern me, but they are pandering to a special interest group and that bothers me.
C. SESSIONS Master Sergeant, USA-Ret.