Pentagon to Issue Same-Gender Couple Benefits

Is this new policy indicative of how the Supreme Court will rule on DOMA this summer?

In another victory in the rapidly escalating movement for same-gender equality, the Pentagon will give some benefits to gay and lesbian partners of military-service members, according to multiple news outlets. An official announcement is expected to come later this week from retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.


Same-gender partners are expected to receive military identification cards, which will allow access to military perks such as commissaries and family-support programs, and access to military-only facilities including gyms and movie theaters. Additionally, same-gender partners could receive some privileges in health programs. The Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, which enforced a mandatory discharge of any troops identified as gay or lesbian, was repealed 16 months earlier.

"Considering DADT was repealed well over a year ago, our families have waited far too long for the Defense Department to extend benefits to same-sex military spouses," said Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association. "No military family should suffer because of outdated regulations. For the sake of our families, we hope for substantive action and look forward to hearing from Secretary Panetta on exactly what benefits will be extended."

While a step in the right direction, the benefits being extended to same-gender couples will not encompass the full breadth of allowances—including medical, dental, housing and other spousal benefits—because of the continued existence of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law states that the federal government only recognizes heterosexual marriages.

What About DOMA? What Will SCOTUS Rule?

As more states have recognized same-gender marriage, the next big question is how the Supreme Court will rule on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8? Both cases will appear before the high court starting in March, with rulings expected sometime this summer. Proposition 8 refers to the ballot measure against same-gender marriage that was approved by voters in California but which has been ruled unconstitutional by lower courts.

"If you provide benefits to individuals seen as the most deserving and the social fabric doesn't tear, that does make it easier down the line to do away with DOMA," said Tammy S. Schultz, the director of the National Security and Joint Warfare Program at the Marine Corps War College. However, she says the benefits announced by the Pentagon "could be a flanking maneuver to keep chipping away at it."

Global Equality Increasing

While global inequities for LGBT people remain and are examined in our recent Global Diversity Research report, there has been progress in certain countries. Our report examines LGBT resource groups and benefits, and companies' abilities to create safe workplaces and to lobby for human rights. Most of the progress in LGBT equality globally has come in Western Europe. To that end, the British House of Commons just voted overwhelmingly to approve same-gender marriage in the United Kingdom.

Two Different Cups of Joe: How The Coffee Bean and Starbucks Handled Racism

In an age of increasing racial confrontations, a business must have zero tolerance for discrimination.

In the Trump era, there has been a proliferation of Islamophobic and racist incidents across the country. When discrimination occurs at a place of business, it's apparent if the company's leadership and workforce support diversity and inclusion. A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf café barista refused to serve a racist customer; meanwhile, a white manager at a Starbucks called the police on two Black men for no reason.

Read More Show Less

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Executives from Nielsen, New York Life, TIAA and Toyota Motor North America talk about communicating their commitment to D&I management and backing it up with actions that get results.

At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear best practices on effectively managing diversity and inclusion.

Moderator: Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

Panelists:

  • Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
  • Kathleen Navarro, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, New York Life
  • Steve Larson, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, TIAA
  • Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America

Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Time Warner's First Chief Diversity Officer, Creator of People en Español, Dies at 56

Quiroz was an advocate of diversity and inclusion, education and the arts.

A Latina trailblazer, Lisa Garcia Quiroz, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Time Warner Inc., and president of the Time Warner Foundation, died Friday at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. An advocate of diversity and inclusion, education and the arts, Quiroz created a dynamic legacy.

Read More Show Less