US: Pentagon alerts same-sex married couples of equal federal ethics rules
The Pentagon has sent a memo to alert same-sex married couples that they are now subject to the same federal ethics rules as straight couples.
The memo, which was sent by the general counsel’s office to all branches and major commands, warned that same-sex couples must be aware in order to avoid criminal conflicts of interest.
It said the financial interests of same-sex spouses of military members are now also owned by the military member or civilian employee.
“In other words, your same-sex spouse’s financial interests are imputed to you,” the memo read. “As a result, for example, you may not work on any assignments that have a direct and predictable effect on your same-sex spouses financial interests because you would have an actual criminal conflict of interest.”
According to the memo, same-sex married couples must also include their spouses’ incomes and investments if they are required to file a financial disclosure form.
Restrictions previously only affecting straight married couples now also affect gay couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions.
Federal regulations, says the memo sent in mid-September, “may require a civilian employee or military member to be recused from working on assignments affecting his or her partner or members of their households because of the appearance that he or she cannot be impartial.”
The new rules come following the strike-down of the Defense of Marriage Act, by the Supreme Court in June. It opened over 1,100 federal benefits to same-sex married couples.
The Pentagon since announced that same-sex couples would be treated equally to straight married couples in terms of benefits.