In the words of outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Penetta: “It is a matter of fundamental equality that we provide similar benefits to all those men and women in uniform who serve their country.”
It’s good that gay couples are receiving more benefits despite the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. But it also seems clear that this is being pushed through just before the Hagel confirmation. Could be that words of support for equality would sound false coming from Hagel, if he could even bring himself to voice them. Otherwise, why not wait a week or two and let Hagel make the announcement, which would have sent a strong message that the drive toward equal treatment for gay service members would continue under the Pentagon’s new leadership, despite Hagel’s anti-gay history.