I was going to write: I’m happy for them. When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this week, I wanted to write about our friend and blogger Tracey Hepner carrying the American flag to the steps of the Supreme Court with other members of the Military Partners and Families Coalition.
I wanted to write about Lori Hensic from the American Military Partner Association on TV speaking about getting married.
I wanted to note how the Blue Star Families Survey said that the majority of military families didn’t have a problem with gays and lesbians serving in the military. They reported that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had no effect.
And I just wanted to just say that the whole thing makes me happy for them. As if that day was happy only for them.
But that wasn’t exactly right. What I meant to say really is that I am happy for us. I’m happy for all of us in the military community.
Because this ruling brings more of “us” into the fold. It means that all the benefits that make a difference will be open to same sex spouses of married military couples. It isn’t just the commissary or the ability to go on base for homecoming that will be open. (Find out more about how the changes will affect gay and lesbian couples here.)
It means the ability to create and sustain a long marriage and a military career will be open. I for one am glad that couples won’t be kept apart because of a housing allowance anymore. I’m glad that a military spouse can reasonably quit their job to go move with their servicemember because they will still have medical benefits to cover them until they get another job. I’m glad that spouses will be able to move overseas with their partners instead of facing three years apart.
Most of all, I’m happy for us. All of us. Because I am always on the side of love. I am always in favor of the research that says the one reliable marker for happiness is a long and fulfilling relationship with one other human being.
And I want that for all of our servicemembers and the folks who love them. It has never been easy to have both a long military career and a long military marriage, but I want the chance for that to happen no matter anyone’s sexual orientation.
So I’ll end this with the words of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who may have said it best when he noted that this is the right thing for our nation to do:
Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so. Today’s ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.