Following the successful repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the Pentagon will begin to extend certain benefits to gay service members and their families, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced Monday.
"Our work must now expand to change our policies and practices to ensure fairness and equal treatment and to taking care of all of our Service members and their families," Panetta wrote in Monday's memo.
According to the memo, the Defense Department conducted a review of benefits it could legally extend to gay service members at the direction of President Obama.
The memo includes the list of newly available benefits, which Panetta aims to have available by Oct. 1. Domestic partners and their children will be eligible once the partners sign a "declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship."
Among the benefits that will be extended are exchange privileges, joint duty assignments, access to an array of family and youth support programs, payments to missing persons, child care and legal assistance.