September 30, 2013
By Elizabeth Jones
A heart-warming video released by the Department of Defense has been making the rounds on the Internet, providing some insight into the new lives of same-sex military couples.
The popular three-minute video, which premiered on the defense department's official YouTube page last week, puts a fresh face on military families as it follows Naval Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui and his husband, Jonathan, on their journey to receiving their spousal benefits issued by the federal government.
"It all changes today, for not just us, but thousands of other families," Dwayne says in the video's opening.
After the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied full benefits for gay couples and kept them from being recognized by federal agencies last June, the DoD shifted its spousal benefits policy to include service members involved in same-sex relationships. Couples must provide a valid marriage license to receive the rewards, which include military identification cards, health insurance packages and survivors benefits. For couples who are based in a state where same-sex marriage is outlawed, the DoD is granting seven days of leave for travel to obtain a marriage license.
The Beebe-Franquis were just one of hundreds of same-sex military couples to celebrate the landmark achievement Sep. 3 - the day the benefits were made available. In the video, the Beebe-Franquis happily make their way into a federal military office so Jonathan can receive his first-ever military I.D. card as Dwayne looks on, smiling. Later in the clip, a routine grocery-shopping trip at the commissary turns into a milestone for the couple as Jonathan proudly flashes his brand-new military identification card upon entering.
"To this date there are so many commitments and promises, and things that we've done together, as a married couple, but now it's going to be recognized," Jonathan says in the video as he fights back tears.