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AF begins to enroll same-sex spouses for benefits

Aug. 29, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Supreme Court’s June decision striking down the federal ban on same-sex marriage was met with rainbow flag-filled celebrations from the gay community nationwide.

For gay and lesbian airmen, the next step will be decidedly more mundane: Obtaining dependent identification cards for their same-sex spouses.

The Air Force Personnel Center said Aug. 29 that same-sex spouses of Air Force members, eligible civilian employees and military retirees can be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and get ID cards beginning Sept. 3.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from airmen on this topic,” said Karen Bennett, the Air Force’s operations branch chief for DEERS and Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System, or RAPIDS. “While many military personnel sections take walk-in customers, airmen who walk in without an appointment may experience longer wait times, so we want to encourage folks to use the online appointment scheduler to make an appointment for DEERS enrollment and ID cards.”

Obtaining the dependent ID card will allow same-sex spouses to come on base, obtain medical treatment, visit commissaries, movie theaters and base exchanges, and enjoy other benefits. Other information on benefits can be found at https://mypers.af.mil.

But the changes will only affect legally married same-sex couples. That means unmarried same-sex partners of airmen, employees or retirees will not be eligible to receive an ID card or obtain those benefits.

The Air Force said airmen, retirees or civilian employees can make appointments for their spouses online at https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil.

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