So already I’ve been approached by a couple people (at work, no less) asking me for reaction to the Secretary’s announcement today that he’s extending certain benefits to same-sex partnered service members.
While to some degree I appreciate the effort the Department has put into identifying bones to toss us (so to speak) that won’t run afoul of DOMA, there already was, since the repeal of DADT a year and a half ago a nice list of Member-Designated Benefits on the books. The new list isn’t all that expansive, save for dependent IDs and access to base facilities.
Still, it’s a gesture. And a gesture more welcoming than the middle-finger one President Obama gave the military with his most recent choice for the Secretary’s replacement.
That said, however, you should read the memo announcing the new policy. Here’s a little clip:
These benefits shall be extended to the same-sex domestic partners…once the Service member and their same-sex domestic partner have signed a declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship.
Does that make you feel a little bit creepy? My first reaction was, ah, so I get to pronounce “the existence of [my and my partner’s] committed relationship” in written form, no doubt filed with my personnelist. (To make things easier, the letter goes on to explain: “A blank copy of the proposed declaration form is in Attachment 3.”)
How romantic. All over America these days, gays and lesbians are fighting for the God-given right to “sign a declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship” so we can be equal. Or something.
Frankly, I much prefer the stuff that’s on the prior list. For example, I have designated my partner as the beneficiary of my Service Members Group Life Insurance policy. No need to explain why or whom he even is to me. I could just as easily have left it to the nice little old lady down the block who used to watch my dogs when I deployed. And it wasn’t the DoD’s damned business who she was or why I named her. Just seemed a little easier is all.
I’ve not much expounded on my beliefs about gay marriage here. I don’t really like to get into the debate. Now that it’s kind of being directed toward me finally, perhaps I will… Perhaps soon.
Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)