The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses - regardless of sexual orientation - as soon as possible.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) July 04, 2013
The Federal Savings Bank, an institution specialized in veteran loans echos news that as a result of the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Defense has sworn prompt action concerning the distribution of veterans benefits to same-sex couples.
As reported by US News on June 26th, the 5-4 ruling by the SCOTUS determined DOMA to be incompatible with the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution that protects the equal liberty of all persons. The Department of Defense was prompt in throwing its support behind the ruling.
"The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act," Chuck Hagel, the Defense Secretary of the DoD, said in a statement. "The Department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses - regardless of sexual orientation - as soon as possible. That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do."
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, prevented the Pentagon from legally extending the same benefits to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples are provided. Leon Panetta, the former Defense Secretary, commented on this problem shortly before his tenure as Defense Secretary ended. In a memo, Panetta addressed the department's definition of "spouse," which is defined as, "a member of the opposite sex." Panetta said that, in lieu of DOMA, the policy of the DoD would be to define the words "marriage" and "spouse," without any regard to sexual orientation.
Not so fast
Although the SCOTUS decision is a game changer, the battle is not yet over for same-sex military coupes - veteran or actively deployed. The reason for this involves the role of the states. According to David McKean, director of government affairs and policy for Outserve-SLDN, it could be more difficult for veterans in same-sex relationships to determine their benefits' eligibility status.
"What you'll have is veterans who lived in the right states at the right times in their lives will get benefits, and veterans who lived in the wrong states at the wrong times will not get benefits," McKean said.
Furthermore, the DoD doesn't control the VA. Marriage is determined by the state you lived in when you became married, said McKean. A servicemember stationed in Texas but was married in California might not qualify for veteran benefits because of the patchwork of states that don't legally recognize same-sex marriage, as reported by MSNBC. However, Lisa Windsor, a retired Army colonel and JAG officer for 22 years, noted that the ball is already in motion. She said it a natural progression of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," as reported by Stars and Stripes.
"Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment," the DoD statement said. "All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve."
Contact The Federal Savings Bank, if you are interested in learning more about VA home loan eligibility.