Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the DOD's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month event at the Pentagon, June 25, 2013. (DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon intends to extend marriage benefits to same-sex spouses of members of the military, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Wednesday.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down the provision in DOMA that denied federal benefits to married gay couples.
"Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so," Hagel said in a statement. "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."
Hagel said the Department of Defense will consult with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies and will extend benefits to all military spouses "as soon as possible."