Despite the recent change in the Department of Defense's policy, many same-sex military couples are facing obstacles when trying to obtain the full military benefits they were promised.
Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon announced in mid-August that servicemembers involved in same-sex relationships will be eligible for a range of benefits, including low-cost health care and military identification cards, that were previously exclusive to heterosexual couples. For couples who do not reside in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, the DoD is granting them up to seven days of leave to travel to state where a marriage license can be obtained.
However, the policy has caused widespread confusion among servicemembers, according to the Los Angeles Times. Only the Marine Corps has issued official guidelines explaining the leave application requirements, the news source reported. The Air Force has yet to issue any directions to its same-sex servicemembers.
After interviewing more than half a dozen servicemembers and their same-sex partners, the news source found that same-sex service members are repeatedly having their requests for leave denied by their superiors without an explicit reason.
"[My commander] said if leave is granted for me to be married then it's not fair to heterosexuals," Ohio National Guard Spc. Jodie Harper told the news source.
Some branches of the military, including the Army, plan to remedy the leave process soon.
"[The Army] will issue additional guidance clarifying the policy in the coming weeks," Army spokesman Lt. Col Justin Platt told the news outlet.