Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, praised the news that the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been added to the list of duty station assignments outside of the United States approved for same-sex military spouses.
Until the recent addition of Germany , and now South Korea, many same-sex spouses of U.S. service members were often denied “command sponsorship” to some duty stations oversees due to concerns that they were not covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the host nation. While opposite-sex spouses were able to accompany their service member to these new duty stations, same-sex spouses and their children were often left behind.
“A huge burden has been lifted off of the shoulders of so many of our military families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “With thousands of service members stationed in South Korea, this was a serious concern that our families still faced after the successful repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the eventual recognition of same-sex spouses by the Department of Defense. 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.”
South Korea hosts an estimated 30,000 U.S. military personnel.
Resolution of the concerns with South Korea was a high priority for AMPA and LGBT military families. LGBT service members with a same-sex spouse were often faced with a very difficult situation of choosing between their family and a duty station that would benefit their military career.
Approved countries now include: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Coast Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Laos, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
Approval for several other countries are still pending.