Last week the Pentagon announced it would provide same-sex couples up to 10 days leave so they could travel to get married if they reside in a state where gay marriage is not yet legal. The decision was met with applause by many gay rights advocates, but now some conservative groups are coming out against the move, Stars and Stripes reports.
Some of the most significant criticisms have come from the Family Research Council, which says the additional days of leave discriminate against heterosexual couples who do not get the same benefits. However, Department of Defense officials dismiss those claims, saying that the 10 days leave will bring same-sex couples to equal footing with their heterosexual counterparts.
"[The uncharged leave] will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married," Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen told the news source.
The renewed debate comes after the DOD announced it would also open up all benefits available to heterosexual couples to same-sex married couples. This includes housing, health care and separation pay.