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In brief: Pentagon shifts rule for same-sex couples

Thu., Aug. 15, 2013, midnight

Washington – Same-sex military couples will qualify for full benefits, including government-provided health care and housing allowances, as long as they are legally married, under new rules announced by the Pentagon.

The requirement for same-sex couples to be married is a shift for the Pentagon, which in February announced that full benefits would be provided to members of the military and same-sex spouses if they attested they were in a “committed relationship.”

But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that finding a way for unmarried, long-term couples to qualify for benefits “is no longer necessary,” since a Supreme Court ruling in June striking down a federal law that barred married same-sex couples from obtaining federal benefits.

Pine Ridge Indians legalize alcohol sale on reservation

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation – home to some of the highest rates of unemployment, domestic abuse and suicide in Indian Country – have voted to end prohibition and legalize alcohol so the tribe can use the profits for education and treatment.

A majority of voters on Tuesday approved the measure, but the outcome was left hanging because of 438 challenged ballots that were more than the difference between the yes and no votes.

Francis Pumpkin Seed, Oglala Sioux Tribe Election Commission chairman, said workers on Wednesday checked each of those ballots to confirm they were cast by enrolled members.

After that process was complete, the result was 1,843 for legalization and 1,683 against it, he said.

Under the law, the tribe will own and operate stores on the reservation, and profits will be used for education and detoxification and treatment centers, for which there is currently little to no funding.


 

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