Yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel stated that, if confirmed in the position, he would "…do everything possible to the extent permissible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members," including lesbian and gay servicemembers.
PFLAG National Board Member Daniel Tepfer, Col USAF (ret.), had the following to say regarding Hagel’s statement,
“Today, I was pleased to read Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel’s positive comments on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Many individuals’ views have evolved over time, including former Senator Hagel’s, and we need to accept where they are now, not judge them on earlier, uninformed opinions.
Spousal benefits remain the one aspect of military life where same-gender couples are not treated the same as straight couples. These include access to on-base housing, medical care, use of on-base facilities and survivor benefits to name a few. I am delighted to learn that, if confirmed as Defense Secretary, Hagel will extend the equal benefits he can under current law. Then when the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, we can look forward to total equality for all military families.”
Additionally PFLAG National agrees with the position taken by our friends at OutServe-SLDN, that Senator Hagel, if confirmed, will have totake a strong step and amend the military’s nondiscrimination and equalopportunity policies to cover lesbian and gay servicemembers.