The military has recently extended several of its programs to same-sex military couples. Among them are official ID cards for spouses, and access to on-base programs and facilities. Of course, not everyone is happy about it. Several Catholic bishops have publicly come-out (no pun intended) against the new initiatives.
Among the opponents is the military’s own vatican appointed archbishop, Timothy P. Broglio (pictured). Broglio believes that granting same-sex couples more equal footing further undermines the sanctity of marriage as a holy institution. More pointedly, he cites 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act, which limits the legal entitlements of gay couples. The Obama Administration has publicly said that it would not support the act in court, but Broglio insists that it must still be observed as law.
The Defense of Marriage Act does still legally bar same-sex couples from other, arguably more important military marriage rights, like healthcare and housing allowances. This summer, DOMA is going under the knife in a case before the supreme court. If overturned there, Secretary of Defense Leon Penetta said that gay couples will be extended the full suite of military marriage entitlements.
In the spirit of the government’s new equal rights initiatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs recently cleared the way for a legally married lesbian woman from Oregon to receive a military burial. The singularly granted waiver does not change policy, and only applies to Lt. Col. Linda Campbell and her spouse, but it likely signals things to come.