Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Monday lauded a Department of Defense decision to extend some benefits to same-sex couples serving in the military.
Schiff was one of 40 other members of the House who signed onto a letter last week urging Leon E. Panetta, the outgoing secretary of Defense, to extend the benefits.
"We need to make sure that all military families – including those with same-sex partners serving at home and overseas – are treated equally, and this is an important step," Schiff said in a statement.
In a memo released Monday, Panetta declared that same-sex domestic partners of service members will now have equal access to more services on U.S. military bases, such as recreation areas, counseling programs and child care. They will also be eligible for legal assistance and disability and death compensation programs.
Some benefits, such as health care and housing allowances, are by law only available to spouses, and thus cannot legally be made available to same-sex domestic partners due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Schiff took issue with that roadblock in his statement, saying it time for Congress to "finish the job by repealing [the Defense of Marriage Act] and passing legislation that will extend full benefits for LGBT service members."
-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News