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WASHINGTON (AP) - Same-sex spouses of military members could get health care, housing and other benefits by the end of August. That's according to a Pentagon proposal under consideration.
But the agency may reverse earlier plans to provide benefits to gay partners who are not married. According to a draft Defense Department memo, the department instead may provide up to 10 days of leave to military personnel in same-sex relationships so they can travel to states where they can marry legally.
While no final decisions have been made, the memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to top defense leaders would reverse the earlier plan that would allow same-sex partners of military members to receive limited benefits, such as access to military stores and some health and welfare programs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set the stage for a full Senate vote on Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska and twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran. Reid filed a motion Wednesday to limit debate and force a vote, which is expected to be held Friday.
Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate, but they need the support of five Republicans to clear the way for an up-or-down vote.