U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after Defense officials said the Pentagon will announce that it will extend certain benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian personnel.
"I welcome news that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to take an important step toward bringing equal treatment to all members of our armed forces," said Hanabusa. "He has earned our thanks and congratulations for his action on this important issue. The men and women who fight for freedom should themselves enjoy the benefits of that freedom as well."
"While it is unfortunate that the federal Defense of Marriage Act will prevent our military from providing all benefits to same-sex couples that are enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, it simply encourages me to do more to bring about DOMA's repeal. It is past time for us to legally recognize same-sex marriages in the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration; I am proud to have cosponsored a bill to that effect in the last Congress, and I intend to keep working on ensuring that same sex couples receive the care, respect, and benefits they are due," she added.
Hanabusa was a cosponsor of H.R. 6046, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012, which was introduced last year. The bill would have updated the term "spouse" to include legally recognized same-sex marriages in the Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments.
Hanabusa has also signed on again as an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA.