A gay and lesbian support organization is asking troops with same-sex partners to take an online survey aimed at gauging what care and benefit challenges the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has left behind, this story reports.
As we’ve discussed before, gay and lesbian spouses do not qualify for TRICARE or other military benefits because their unions are not considered legal under the federal Defense of Marriage Act. While same-sex partners who are not in the military themselves do not technically qualify for on base housing, there are limited circumstances in which they may gain official access, such as registering on base as a caretaker for the legally recognized child of a gay servicemember.
The survey, which will remain open for two weeks, includes questions about relationship status and health care perceptions for gay and lesbian troops. For example, it asks respondents to gauge to what extent they feel their homosexual status gives them unique healthcare needs.
Run by the Military Partners and Families Coalition, the survey comes ahead of a two-day D.C. summit on gay military family issues run by Out Serve, an association for LGBT servicemembers. That conference will include lobbying and workshops, according to Stars and Stripes.
The issue of the same-sex spouses of gay servicemembers receiving benefits is a contentious one on many levels - and not just for the purpose of the military. Opening benefits to the LGBT community would require the federal government recognize gay marriage across the board, allowing gay couples to file taxes jointly and receive other married-folk-only government benefits.
While the impact on the rest of the spouse community would be minimal, the housing issue is still a hot button topic for some who feel uncomfortable with the idea of a LGBT couple next door. Without participating in gay bashing, how is your family handling this topic?
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