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Same-sex spouses now eligible for move benefits

Sep. 3, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Airmen with same-sex active-duty spouses are now eligible to have their husbands or wives moved with them under join-spouse assignment consideration, the Air Force Personnel Center said Aug. 30.

Airmen with same-sex civilian spouses who are stationed overseas can also apply for command sponsorship, which, if approved, would allow their spouses to join them abroad.

The Defense Department-wide changes follow the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision that ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The changes do not apply to unmarried same-sex partners.

Bill Warner, AFPC chief of assignment programs and procedures, said airmen must first update their marriage information in the Military Personnel Data System and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System before being considered for join-spouse or command sponsorship. After updating that information, future join-spouse consideration will be automatic for married same-sex couples who are both active-duty Air Force, Warner said.

But an airman who is married to an active-duty member of another branch of the military — and has already been selected for an assignment or is currently assigned to an installation far from the spouse — must submit a letter applying for join-spouse consideration.

Under join-spouse rules, a military service member whose active-duty spouse is moved to another duty station is transferred to the same or a nearby duty station, as long as the spouse has been in his or her current station at least one year.

Command sponsorship benefits, if approved, would allow an airman’s dependent same-sex spouse to be receive housing eligibility, travel paid for by the Air Force, up to 10 days of temporary lodging allowance, a greater household goods shipment allowance, on-post employment eligibility, and immigrant residency under the applicable status of forces agreements.

The Air Force said that approval for an accompanied overseas assignment would depend on the Defense and State departments’ reviews of applicable status of forces agreements.

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