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Pentagon To Permit Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses Of Military Members

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File photo of the Pentagon. (credit: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of the Pentagon. (credit: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

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CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says the Pentagon’s decision to make health care, housing and other benefits available to same-sex spouses of military members is a big win for fairness and equality.

The Pentagon said Wednesday it reached the decision after consulting with the Justice Department, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The benefits would be available by Sept. 3.

Shaheen says, though, that more needs to be done. She said until the Department of Veterans Affairs issues a similar announcement, “I will continue to push forward the Charlie Morgan Act, so that veterans and their families also enjoy the benefits they have rightfully earned and deserve.”

Shaheen is a co-sponsor of the measure that would bring benefits equality to same-sex military couples. It’s named for New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, whose wife and daughter were denied survivor and other benefits after Morgan’s death from breast cancer early this year.

Morgan crusaded for equal treatment of same-sex military couples.

The Defense of Marriage Act prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than that between a man and a woman. In late June, the Supreme Court cleared the way for legally married gay couples to be recognized under federal law.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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