Nearly two years after the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was repealed and months after the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex military spouses are getting a small—but official—sign that the days of hiding their sexual preferences in the military are over.
Today, the Department of Defense released a new video highlighting same-sex couples receiving military ID cards and spousal benefits for the first time.
Military identification cards allow spouses to access important military benefits like medical care; housing allowances; access to commissaries; exchanges; morale, welfare and recreation programs.
The video follows Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui and his partner Jonathan Beebe-Franqui on their journey to receive spousal benefits and use them for the first time.
“It all changes today, for not just us, but thousands of other families,” Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui states in the opening of the three-minute YouTube video.
“To this date there are so many commitments and promises, and things that we’ve done together, as a married couple, but now it’s going to be recognized.” Jonathan Beebe-Franqui stated. “And it’s something as simple as an ID card that kind of seals that. Everything that’s been going on that we’ve done just for us and our family now to be recognized through the federal government, his career, his job, is just amazing, it’s a crazy feeling.”
The DOD followed in the president’s footsteps and extended rights and benefits to same-sex couples on Sept. 3, 2013.
“For our small little family, that means a lot for our budget, but just imagine all those families, all that, add it all up,” Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui said. “This is a huge step forward. If you look at history, every advancement in human rights, for people, has started in the military.”
This simple step forward is something that the couple believes will help validate and strengthen their relationship in the eyes of the rest of the country.
The extension of spousal and family benefits to same-sex couples comes after a long military history of hiding and unequal treatment under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” military policy. Under this policy, gay service members were forced to hide their relationships in order to keep their jobs and serve their country, but all that changed on December 22, 2010 when President Obama signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”