Marriage in the military has changed and now same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples. On August 19, Military.com reported that these same-sex couples may soon be entitled to benefits which heterosexual couples are not – uncharged leave. Ten days to be exact.
Active duty members of the military are not given uncharged leave when they get married. However, the report states that the reason for the new incentive for same-sex couples is based on the fact that they are not able to marry freely in all states (although heterosexual couples can marry in any state they choose.)
Hampton Roads has one of the largest military concentrations and, no doubt, there are same-sex military couples who are hoping to get married. However, these couples are not able to go to city hall and obtain a marriage license in any city in Virginia. Rather, they must travel to Maryland, or one of the other 13 states where same-sex marriage is recognized. Maryland has a 48-hour waiting period while Virginia has no waiting period.
It is easy to see why the uncharged leave is being considered and it makes sense, but not everyone agrees with it. If same-sex couples are granted uncharged leave solely to get married, shouldn’t heterosexual couples be offered the same incentive? What if they choose to travel out of state to get married, then should they be offered the uncharged leave?
The military is trying to do right, but rather than single out homosexual military members and give them an extra incentive, they should figure out a way to make it fair for all members of the Armed Forces – straight or gay – who want to get married.