- (Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
A socially conservative policy organization based in Washington, D.C. is calling on the United States military to stop providing paid leave for personnel to have same-sex weddings.
The Family Research Council has called on supporters to tell the U.S. Senate to remove a measure from the National Defense Authorization Bill for 2014 that funds these bonuses.
In an email sent out to supporters on Tuesday, FRC President Tony Perkins argued that the Defense Department's "special leave" represented unequal treatment of military servicemen.
"This special leave – only for destination weddings of homosexual couples – is above and beyond the regular annual leave granted to every service member," wrote Perkins. "How much does this cost the American taxpayer? For ten days' work, a captain (with six years' experience) earns $1,787.20 in base pay alone - that's not even accounting for benefits like housing allowance, health care, etc."
Perkins stressed that these bonuses are "only available for same-sex 'weddings' – heterosexuals need not apply!"
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court decided in a five to four decision that Section Three of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The key provision of DOMA being struck down led to federal government departments seeking ways to expand their various benefits programs to include same-sex couples.
Last week, the Department of Defense announced their plan to expand benefits to same-sex spouses of both military servicemen and DOD civilian employees due to the DOMA decision.
According to a DOD news release from last Wednesday, "the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate."
"We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry," reads the DOD news release. "That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur."
As to estimated monetary cost of this expansion, a spokesman for the DOD told The Christian Post that such an estimate has not been calculated as of Wednesday.
The source also told CP that the expansion deadline of Sept. 3 is "just the tip of the iceberg" and that they "won't know for some time" how many will apply for the benefits and how much this will cost.
The Department of Defense did not return to The Christian Post by press time regarding the FRC's effort to defund the special leave offered for same-sex weddings.