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WND Touts Hate Group's Distortion Of Pentagon Policy On Same-Sex Marriages

August 21, 2013 2:02 pm ET by Luke Brinker

Far-right website WND promoted the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council's misinformation about a new Department of Defense policy that accommodates gay and lesbian servicemembers who need to travel to get married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, claiming that the policy extends preferential treatment to same-sex couples.

In an August 20 "WND Exclusive," the website dutifully transcribed FRC President Tony Perkins' criticism of the new policy:

In an email today, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council explained what's going on.

"A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year said that the federal government must give equal treatment to same-sex couples who have legally 'married.' But now the Pentagon wants to give a special, taxpayer-funded bonus to such couples - including a benefit that is not even available to heterosexual couples."

He said it was a Department of Defense announcement on Aug. 13 that said a service member who wants to enter a same-sex "marriage," but is posted more than 100 miles from a state that allows same-sex "marriages," will be granted seven days of extra paid leave (10 days if posted outside the continental United States) just to travel to their wedding.

"This special leave - only for destination weddings of homosexual couples - is above and beyond the regular annual leave granted to every service member. How much does this cost the American taxpayer? For 10 days' work, a captain (with six years' experience) earns $1,787.20 in base pay alone - that's not even accounting for benefits like housing allowance, health care, etc.," he said.

"And this special taxpayer-funded leave is only available for same-sex 'weddings' - heterosexuals need not apply!" he said. [emphasis original]

Because only 13 states currently allow same-sex marriages, many same-sex military couples will need to travel to other states for their weddings. Therefore, the Pentagon's new policy allows gay and lesbian servicemembers an extra seven days of paid marital leave if they're in the continental U.S., with those outside the continental U.S. eligible for up to 10 days of leave. As a Pentagon spokesman explained:

"This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the Department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married," explained navy Lt Comm Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman.

In essence, the Pentagon is not simply providing equal benefits to gay couples, it is removing an institutional roadblock to gay marriage among servicemembers - a change unthinkable as recently as two years ago.

"They're providing an extra benefit temporarily to right a wrong," said [Denny Meyer, a spokesman for American Veterans for Equal Rights].

"America has a long history of doing that for other minorities, like with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to correct what's been wrong before."

According to the FRC, however, this concession to the reality of LGBT inequality is a "special" benefit unfairly denied to heterosexual couples.

Other FRC figures have also peddled this narrative. Robert Maginnis, an FRC senior fellow, told right-wing website OneNewsNow that the new policy represents "a tragedy and a travesty" that would unjustly allow same-sex couples to "claim marriage benefits." Peter Sprigg, the rabidly anti-gay senior fellow for policy studies at FRC, wrote in an FRC blog post on August 15 that the Pentagon was wasting money on "homosexual honeymoons" and that the policy "actively discriminates against opposite-sex coupleswho receive no special leave for their weddings."

The FRC's vitriol against LGBT people and its promotion of discredited research should be reason enough not to take its "experts" seriously on any matters of public policy. But the FRC is uniquely unqualified to comment on matters pertaining to gays in the military. Prior to the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, the FRC warned that repeal would increase sexual assaults, weaken servicemember morale, undermine recruitment and retention, damage unit cohesion, and put an end to religious freedom. Subsequent studies and reports debunked all of those horror stories.

Previously:

Déjà Vu: FRC Rehashes Same Arguments Against Boy Scouts That It Used Against DADT Repeal

When Will The Media Stop Treating FRC Like A Serious Policy Organization?

One Year Later: FRC's Top Five DADT Horror Stories Never Came True




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