Tony Perkins: ‘Allowing gay military couples leave to travel to where they can marry is discriminatory’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Tony Perkins of the anti-gay Family Research Council, has voiced his disapproval at the Pentagon’s announcement that gay couples will be allowed leave to marry, if they live a certain distance from a state which legally recognises same-sex marriage.

The Defense Department made the announcement in August, that the leave of seven days for service members in the US, or ten days for members stationed abroad, will be available if they are more than a hundred miles from one of the thirteen states or the District of Columbia which currently allow equal marriage.

Perkins said in his radio broadcast, posted by Right Wing Watch, that the leave was “expensive and discriminatory”, towards straight soldiers.

He said: “For our troops, marriage is becoming the biggest battlefield.

“Thanks to the Pentagon, taxpayers are giving gay service members quite a wedding gift. According to the Defense Department, homosexual troops are getting some extra incentives to get hitched–including 10 days of bonus leave. The AP says gay and lesbian military members will get as many as two weeks of extra vacation time to travel to states that allow same-sex marriage.

“Meanwhile, the Defense Department says it ‘remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who service in the U.S. military… are treated fairly.’ If that were true, heterosexual couples would be getting the same benefits. See, this special, taxpayer-funded leave isn’t just expensive–it’s discriminatory. According to the Pentagon, heterosexual couples aren’t eligible. How’s that for equality? The administration says this perk ‘level[s] the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.’ But when it comes to extra vacation days, the only thing the military is taking leave of is their senses.”

Perkins earlier this year blamed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the US military ban on openly gay people serving, for suicides in the armed forces.

Previously, at the start of the US Supreme Court hearings around two equal marriage cases, Perkins claimed that the court ruling in favour of equal marriage could lead to “revolution”.