And now for the latest news from the “You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up Department”: a DOD budget request for funding the honeymoons of soldiers who are entering into same-sex “marriages.” The Department of Defense sent out memos last month that called for the new defense budget to earmark funds for paid leave for same-sex weddings/honeymoons.
The proposal is as follows: if you are a service member who is going to enter into a same-sex union, and you are posted more than 100 miles outside of a state that recognizes such unions as legal marriages, you will be granted a full week’s EXTRA paid leave just to travel to your wedding. If you are posted outside the Continental US, that bumps up your paid leave time up to 10 days.
Before we discuss the merits or the morality of such a move, let’s get an idea of what kind of money we are talking about here. If you are “Captain Joe,” have six years experience as a Captain (instead of a GI,) and you are going to “marry” Captain John, (and understand here that it better be an officer-to-officer relationship, because as far as I know, it is still against military regulations for officers to date enlisted folk,) and you live outside the 100 mile radius, you will receive $1,787.20 in base pay. If John is equal to you in rank and time served, he gets the same. That does not include housing allowance, health care, etc. On Oahu there are beach front MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) facilities that go for a pittance in order to provide R and R for the military, so you essentially have$3500 together to spend on your “destination wedding.”
But here’s the kicker in all of this: This paid leave applies ONLY to those entering into a same sex “marriage!!” That’s right, if you are Captain Joe, and you are going to marry Captain Jane, you are, as they say, “stuck like Chuck.” Heterosexual couples are precluded from this benefit. They still would get regular leave, and can get married during that time, but they do not get one nickel for their nuptials.
We live in the Rocket City, where sequestering has hit hard, and NASA has been encouraged to raise the self-esteem of Muslim scientists as part of their new “mission.” But somehow, the DOD can find money for marriage, but only if you enter into a covenant that has no inherent ability to bring forth life, let alone enhance it.
So, as annoying as it is to once again plead with you to contact our legislators, I am asking that you do. Jeff Sessions should have better things than this to fight about on the Hill, but we are where we are, and the fight is what it is. The National Defense Authorization Bill of 2014 is now in the Senate, and it must be amended by our US Senators to eliminate a provision that at the very least discriminates against heterosexual service members.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner