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WND: DOMA Ruling Harms National Security!

As soon as I saw a headline at the Worldnutdaily that said “Expert on military readiness says budget’s burden for benefits will explode,” I knew that “expert” would be Elaine Donnelly. She’s not really an expert on this, of course. Sure, she runs a group called the Center for Military Readiness, but she has no background in the military and that group does little more than rant about women and gay people in the military. And she admits that she has no case to make:

The benefits now granted to same-sex couples as a result of the Supreme Court decision striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act will put an immediate strain on the defense budget, warns the Center for Military Readiness.

Wow, an immediate strain? This sounds serious. How much of a strain? No idea, actually.

Donnelly said the U.S. military budget will be under pressure because of the Supreme Court’s actions, but it is hard to calculate how much.

“No one has estimated what the impact will be,” said Donnelly, “especially during a time when sequestration cuts, large and small, are affecting military families worldwide.”

So it will be an immediate strain, but she has no idea how much. Well let’s do some back of the envelope calculations, shall we? We’ll even skew the numbers so that every one is exaggerated to the other side. There are about 1.4 million people serving in the military and about 3-5% of the population is gay. The number of gay soldiers is likely lower than that because gay people were only recently allowed to serve openly, so let’s take it all the way to 5%. That’s about 70,000 gay soldiers. Not all of them are married, of course; in fact, about 2/3 of them are likely to be in states that do not allow same-sex marriage, so now we’re down to about 23,000 who are even eligible to be married. And only a relatively small percentage of them will actually be married, but let’s go with a whopping 50%, far higher than reality but we’re skewing all the numbers toward the worst possible outcome. That’s about 12,000 gay married couples in the military. And let’s assume a staggering $20,000 per married couple in additional costs, also higher than it is likely to be.

That’s less than $250 million even by the most generous imaginable math. The defense budget is about $700 billion. That’s less than a tenth of a percent of the defense budget. Wow, what an “immediate strain.”

Comments

  1. psweet says

    So how does the military deal with a couple that are stationed in, say, Georgia, but takes a vacation in Massachusetts, gets married, then returns to work. Since they are in a state that doesn’t allow marriage, and DOMA says that’s okay, what does the military do?

  2. cptdoom says

    One thing to consider in your calculation, Ed, gays and lesbians were serving in large numbers before the end of DADT. I would guesstimate the percentage of gays and lesbians is far higher in the military than in the population at large. The military has always been very attractive to gays and lesbians, particularly those from small towns who wanted to get out.

    @psweet – From what I’ve heard from experts, in general the government uses the “state of celebration” for benefit purposes, although there are exceptions, so I would assume the military would follow the same principle. I would assume the military’s experience with inter-racial marriages will be informative here, although I was told by a military veteran years ago that inter-racial couples were not assigned to bases in states where their marriages weren’t legal.

  3. matty1 says

    You are forgetting the special homo bonus of one zillion dollars each they get paid for making baby Jesus cry.

  4. Robert B. says

    I imagine, psweet, that they are considered legally married by the federal government (including their branch of the military) but not by the state they’re stationed in. It sounds weird, but the reverse situation, state but not federal recognition, was happening all the time until just now, so they’ll probably figure it out.

  5. gshelley says

    What sort of percentage increase is this on the current buidget for married couple benefits?

  6. Chiroptera says

    What are they talking about? Aren’t these the people that would actually like to get rid of gays altogether? And (since human resource needs aren’t going to change) replace them with heterosexuals? Who would, presumably, have their own benefits eligible families?

    The “benefits” issue is an argument for a smaller military, not an excusively heterosexual one.

    Unless what they really want is for gay people to just serve as cannon fodder…for free!

  7. eric says

    @2 – I think @5 is right. DOD is a federal agency, so they (now) have to recognize any legally performed same sex marriage, regardless of where the soldier is stationed.

  8. lldayo says

    Ed, you didn’t factor in divorce rates (which have risen over the years) and marriage rates (which have fallen). This results in a net surplus that can be used for SS couples.

  9. CaitieCat says

    You are forgetting the special homo bonus of one zillion dollars each they get paid for making baby Jesus cry.

    Is it only USan queerfolk who can get in on this? I minored in Making Baby Jesus Cry* in university, and am also ex-military.

    * We follow the “Your Dad’s a Cuckold and Your Mom’s an Adulterer” school.

  10. says

    “Wow, what an ‘immediate strain.'”

    COME ON ED BRATYON! 250 MILLION DOLLARS IS ONE QUARTER OF A SINGLE ONE OF THE PLANNED PLANES TO REPLACE THE B2! HOW ARE WE GOING TO BOMB IRAN WITH THREE QUARTERS OF A PLANE (AND ALSO THE BIGGEST STRONGEST MILITARY IN THE WORLD)? IF YOU HAD YOUR WAY WED LOSE TO A COUNTRY WE ARENT EVEN AT WAR WITH BY GIVING UP PART OF A SINGLE UNIT OF A THING THAT DOESNT EVEN EXIST YET AND SPENDING IT ON SO CALLED “BENEFITS” TO SO CALLED “COUPLES” IN OUR MILITARY WHO DONT HAVE ANYTHING TO FLY EXCEPT FOR EVERYTHING ELSE WEVE GOT!
    WAY TO LOSE THE WAR WITH AYATOLLAH ROCKENROLLA ED BRATYON!

  11. magistramarla says

    OK, here’s the opinion of a retired military spouse:

    1. Housing benefits – Housing has been privatized on bases now. Those for-profit companies are doing everything they can to fill empty housing, including allowing retired military and civilian base workers to live in them – that’s why we were able to rent a place on an army installation while we lived in CA.
    I would think that those companies would LOVE to fill housing with more eligible military families.

    2. Commissary/Exchange privileges – I would think that this would also be seen as a big plus. With more people shopping there, it would mean more profits and might even provide more jobs – WOW!

    3. Medical benefits – This one might cost the DOD something, especially in those cases where there is no available base hospital, and the dependents must be sent to a civilian facility. However, the active duty member is paying for the TriCare premiums from his/her pay, so the family deserves the amount that the DOD kicks in.

    4. Death benefits to surviving spouses & step-children – Now this would be a cost to the DOD, but really, why should we want to deny this to those families? Oh, I forgot – the wingnuts would object to this.

    5. GI education benefits for family members – These are funds that the military member has already earned. If the military member doesn’t use them, he.she now has the right to assign them to a family member.

    6. Spouses’ Club membership – This should be a great thing for those clubs – more paying members!
    However, I’m sure that there will be some problems to overcome.

    7. On-base childcare benefits – Again, this should be a win-win. It would mean more parents paying into the childcare facilities, and might even provide more jobs for childcare workers – WOW!

    8. Moving costs for families for a PCS – This will be a slightly higher cost that just paying for the active duty family member to move, but not that much.

    I’m sure that I’ve missed some benefits, but I think that you can see that there will also be benefits for the bases, too. It certainly won’t do much damage to that bloated defense budget, and will probably be fairly cost-effective.

  12. Trickster Goddess says

    And these are the same people that usually claim that gay people are such a tiny percent of the population that we don’t count when it come to non-discrimination legislation, yet if we if we are given the same benefits as everyone else, we will bankrupt every business and government treasury.

  13. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @modus

    I genuinely can’t recall a single one of your posts that hasn’t elicited at least a chuckle. Thank you :)

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