Are soldiers now require to disclose their sexual orientation? Who can they talk to about coming out? What kinds of benefits can same-sex married couples receive? While DADT may be as good as dead, the questions still linger. A first-of-its-kind guide and some questions answered after the jump.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has released a 53-page guide for LGB soldiers called "Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Military Service" and is available on their website.
This also comes with a warning: "IMPORTANT: This guide is effective upon repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Until then, service members are cautioned about coming out publicly."
The guide helps service members in same-sex marriages understand the limits of their relationship in accordance with DOMA. The banned benefits for spouses includes health insurance, family separation allowances, higher housing allowances and surviving spouse benefits.
However, in a slight twist, gay service members who are in same-sex marriages cannot be punished fro extramarital sex with another "unmarried" person because DOMA restricts recognition of same-sex to begin with. This can be beneficial and work against the LGB community. Some married couples have open relationships, but won't this notion will just feed naysayers who want to paint us as sex fiends?
There are also tips for transgender service members, who are still legally banned from serving openly.
HuffPo adds, "Another section offers guidance for former service members expelled for being gay before or during DADT on how to have their discharge paperwork changed to remove negative re-entry codes that can hurt with future civilian employers and bar them from rejoining the armed forces."
SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis discusses how they still have an important job to do:
“The work of advancing military equality marches forward after repeal. We will fight alongside those who may face harassment or discrimination as we oversee implementation; when necessary and timely, litigate in the courts to bring about full LGBT equality in America’s military; advocate for legally married service members to receive the same benefits as their straight counterparts; and assist veterans to correct or upgrade their discharge paperwork."
Would you consider entering the military now with all these new protections and services?