(MILITARY.COM) – Same-sex spouses will now be able to accompany U.S. service members on overseas tours to South Korea, according to Defense Department documents.
The paperwork was obtained and released by the American Military Partners Association, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates on behalf of gay military families.
"A huge burden has been lifted off of the shoulders of so many of our military families," Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the association, said in a press release. "This is incredibly welcome news for so many service members and their families who now don't have to go through extraordinary lengths to stay together."
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Although gay spouses became eligible for U.S. military benefits in 2013, they're often still not permitted to join the family members at overseas duty stations due to restrictive status of forces agreements with the host countries. Because many countries don't recognize same-sex marriage – a hot-button political and religious issue around the world – they don't allow American same-sex dependents as part of their agreements.