We walked in Tuesday, 3 September 2013 with all supporting and appropriate documentation to facilitate the issuance of our spousal ID cards. As we scanned the waiting area, we see an Army Captain and her Postal Service employee. HA, we beat them to the title of “First Same-Sex Couple to Receive ID Card.” Through our first couple of minutes, the Captain and her wife, the Airman and his retired Navy husband wait pensively. “What are we going to encounter? Did we bring everything? How are we going to be treated?” You could smell the uncertainty in the room. The tension was so thick…. Well, you know. Several others were waiting along with the two lone same-sex couples. Four veterans, three branches, two officers, and two enlisted service members waiting to be served by the next available representative.
And wait we have. We’ve waited our entire careers for recognition. For some, the recognition came too late. Today, our wait finally ended. We are finally equal.
May I see your ID, please?
We’ve all heard it. We hear it every single day, virtually everywhere we go; especially now that we have our dependent identification cards. We are able to surprise our spouses with lunch while they’re working. We are now able to go to the commissary for that gallon of milk, pound of beef, or the latest issue of Men’s Health with Orlando Bloom on the cover. We don’t need our spouses with us any longer. It’s nice that we don’t need to go to the VRC to check-in or meet at the gate to switch cars. We’re finally able to spend like drunken sailors on shore-leave. Most importantly, we’re fully recognized as an integral part of our service-member’s life.
Living in close proximity to three fully functional installations has its own advantages. If one BX is out, we can run across town to one of the other three. It always amazes me just how different the stock of each location is! I guess variety truly is the spice of life.
The little things that so many have taken for granted, for so long, have been available to us for just over a month. We’re now able to visit the doctor or urgent care clinic. Need a prescription? Make your way to the pharmacy at the air station, base, camp, or post. Want to improve your health? Visit a wellness clinic or the gym.
There’s no more waiting. There are no more stares in the parking lot at the VRC gate. While there is still a lot left to accomplish for full equality, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the rewards of a long hard battle.
It is not just about the benefits; it has not been about the benefits, exclusively. It’s about equality. It is about being treated as a spouse and not just a “friend.” It’s about becoming a family with the branch of service we chose to serve. It’s about having that branch of service recognize our family in return.
James is a Graduate Student at the University of the Incarnate Word, Navy Veteran, and Computer Consultant in San Antonio, Texas. He is married to Senior Airman Christopher Taylor of the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint-Base San Antonio – Lackland. They are in the beginning stages of adopting their first child.