On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, prohibiting extension of Federal benefits to same-sex spouses of civilian employees of Federal agencies, was unconstitutional. In the interim, the U.S. Coast Guard – working with the Department of Defense – has been exploring the changes to the military benefits system necessary to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of military members.
As a result, Rear Adm. Daniel A. Neptun announced, beginning Sept. 3, members with same-sex spouses can present a valid state marriage certificate to their admin/SPO for processing to receive all spousal/dependent benefits, including BAH at the with-dependents rate. All benefits will be retroactive to the date of marriage or the date of the Supreme Court ruling, whichever is later.
It is important to note DEERS/Rapids sites are still being reprogrammed and ID cards will not be available until Sept. 3. As TRICARE enrollment is dependent on DEERS enrollment, it is highly recommended members with same-sex spouses consult with a TRICARE representative regarding benefit implications.
Further to this decision, the Coast Guard continues to work with the Department of Defense on a separate policy regarding administrative absence for members for the sole purpose of getting married. As this potential change to policy could effect members with same or opposite-sex partners, the decision will be addressed in a separate ALCOAST from leadership.
Policy questions regarding the extension of military benefits to same-sex spouses of military members should be directed to the Policy and Standards Division (CG-1221).