''The partners of gay service members will not at this point be given any special rights or any rights that parallel those of a spouse.''
Bernard Rostker, described by NPR as the former Undersecretary of the Department of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and someone who's been studying ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' for 17 years. Here, Rostker responds to a question about whether the spouses of lesbian and gay servicemembers will receive benefits. Now that DADT is officially on the way out, his opinion of pending Pentagon policy is that the military will not recognize gay partners for marriage benefits. Unmarried heterosexuals do not receive military benefits either, it is reported. (NPR)
The difference is that gay men and women can be legally married in several US States and the District of Columbia, but the discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act" has barred any Federal recognition of these legal unions since 1996. Military benefits include access to the on-base commissary as well as medical care.
Obama has said that DOMA, in his opinion, needs to be repealed as well, but in an interview with the Advocate earlier this week, he seemed to indicate that the next, more conservative Congress won't be likely to pass such a measure. Obama himself has made numerous statements in recent years only in support of civil unions for gay men and lesbians rather than marriage. This week, the President reiterated that position.
''With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I've spoken about this recently. As I've said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.
''I have friends -- I have people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And, they are extraordinary people. And this is something that means a lot to them, and they care deeply about.
''At this point, what I've said, is that my base line is a strong civil union that provides them protections and legal rights that married couples have, and I think that's the right thing to do.
''But I recognize that, from their perspective, it is not enough. And I think this is something that we'll continue to debate, and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward.
[Tapper: But the military is not going to recognize civil unions.]
''I understand, and as I said, this is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military. This is an issue that extends to all of our society. And I think we're all going to have a conversation about it.
President Barack Obama responding to Jake Tapper of ABC News who asked at a press conference: "Is it intellectually consistent that gays and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not able to marry the people they love?"
''I think the country's evolving. And I think there is an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. That is my view. But this is the President's view -- but I think that it is evolving.... And I think you're going to see, you know, the next effort is probably going to be to deal with so called DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act].''
Vice President Joe Biden speaking with George Stephanopoulous of ABC who asked for his opinion about President Obama's statement about marriage for gay men and women. (ABC News)