A reader writes:
Regarding your Email of the Day, my husband serves in the Navy, and we were married nearly one year ago. Naturally, we’re elated that DoD will soon recognize our marriage after a month and a half of silence, but I can’t help but feel indignant that DoD will only recognize our marriage from the date of the SCOTUS decision for the purposes of housing benefits. I’m baffled by DoD’s statement that “Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted.”
Was the SCOTUS opinion not that DOMA is unconstitutional? Shouldn’t that mean that it was unconsitutional for DoD not to recognize our marriage when we exchanged vows last year? How do they expect a statement like that to pass muster? It’s not just the principle of the matter: my husband would stand to receive an additional $7,000+ in housing allowance (here in pricey DC) if they granted him backpay from the time of our marriage last August. There’s not much clearer an example than that of the financial inequality among gay and straight troops, but with this statement on backpay claims, DoD has indicated they just don’t care about righting past wrongs.
(For the record, I fully support housing allowance reform in the military, and I think entitlements are generally out of control. But if everyone else in our situation is getting something, dammit, I want it too!)