Ask Sarge – Answers to LGBT Military Issues

Dear Sergeant,

I am in a same-sex relationship right now and I have just received orders to Texas. My main issue is that I am in love with the girl that I am with, and when it becomes legal to marry, I plan to. With the repeal of DADT, should I have her move with me? I mean, its hard enough now to bring her around people I work with because everyone sees that we are together – more than a typical friendship – but I just want her to be a part of all of my life – not half of it.

–Conflicted Lover

Dear Conflicted Lover,

First of all, I would like to wish you the best of luck on your new assignment. While moving can be a stressful experience, try to look at this as a new chapter in your life. Embrace this change and make the most if it. As for the situation with your girlfriend, it is my firm belief that we will do whatever is necessary to stay with those we love. While, as service members, the Defense of Marriage Act prevents our being able to receive the traditional benefits that come along with marriage – such as housing and joint assignments – the repeal should allow you and your girlfriend the ability to live your lives together, without fear. Talk to her about your current situation and see what her thoughts are. It is fantastic that you are concerned about both of your lifestyles, her happiness, and her willingness to move to Texas with you. Ultimately, however, moving to Texas with you should be her decision. Regardless of the circumstances, I say embrace the decision and make it work. Make this decision about your relationship going to the next level, and not about the fear of repercussions from a deceased policy. Remember: moving in with you is her decision, and her thoughts and feelings are equally as important.

Good luck!

Hello & Good Day, Sarge!

Currently, my partner is in the Army. Her next duty station is going to be in Germany. I did some research and learned that I would be able to stay in the country for up to 90 days, at which point, I would have to leave the country for 6 months before returning. Are there any other options for us? We are planning to get married in about three months, but feel that may not be the best decision because of the new orders. It seems so unfair, especially since we have been together for so long. These laws are tough – your advice would be greatly appreciated!

Best Regards,
A. R.

Hello A.R,

I must say, I am saddened to hear about your current situation. I am going to assume that you are not in the military, since you are planning to stay in Germany on a visa. I have done some research
on the visa requirements for Germany and talked to a friend of mine who lived in Germany for about 3 and a half years after high school. I think that I have found a pretty good opportunity for you
to remain in the country longer than 90 days. In Germany, Americans are permitted to apply for jobs on American military installations. Look into getting a job on base working in the Commissary or an AAFES facility. You can visit as well as to find available positions on the military installations in Germany. Also, if you have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, you may even be able to snag a Government Services (GS) or contracting job available in the area. Having a job in the country will allow you to apply for a working visa, and having a government job will solidify your stay in Germany.

As far as your relationship and future marriage goes, I don’t think that I have to tell you that circumstances in the military are changing rapidly at the moment. We all hope that in the very near
future we will see a world where our partners are recognized as military spouses and are entitled to the same benefits given to those of heterosexual couples. Do what you both think is best
in this situation. I truly believe that with enough determination, we will do whatever it takes to make it work, regardless of the circumstances.

Best of luck!

  1. October 14, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    Love and maintaining a long-term relationship can be challenging no matter the situation, but there are greater stressors for those serving in the military. That being said, you want to nurture and protect your relationship to the best of your ability and the same for your girlfriend. Your level of commitment is evident in that you plan on marrying. My main concern, based on your concerns regarding having a “non-closeted” relationship will bother some just as they do now knowing your same-gender attraction orientation. So I would wonder if your relationship is strong enough to withstand the stress and strains that may result from living openly as a couple in the current military environment you describe in your letter?

    It is important that you both are considering the possible challenges that may come up. One suggestion would be to have your girlfriend stay with you for extended visits – say a week to 10 days at a time, and see how it goes. If all goes well over a period of say 3 to 6 months, perhaps her making a major move to live with you will be workable after testing your environment as a couple. Seeking “off-base” or online couples’ counseling during this time could be very beneficial during this transition! However the two of you work it out, I wish you both much happiness in your future plans as a couple.

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