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DOD Approves Sponsorship of Gay Military Spouses to South Korea

(14 April 2016) The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, praised the news that
the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been added to the list of duty station assignments outside of the
United States approved for same-sex military spouses.

Until the recent addition of Germany , and now South Korea, many same-sex spouses of U.S. service
members were often denied “command sponsorship” to some duty stations oversees due to concerns
that they were not covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the host nation. While
opposite-sex spouses were able to accompany their service member to these new duty stations, same-
sex spouses and their children were often left behind.

“A huge burden has been lifted off of the shoulders of so many of our military families,” said AMPA
President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “With thousands of service members stationed in South Korea, this
was a serious concern that our families still faced after the successful repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and
the eventual recognition of same-sex spouses by the Department of Defense. This is incredibly welcome
news for so many service members and their families who now don’t have to go through extraordinary
lengths to stay together.”

South Korea hosts an estimated 30,000 U.S. Military personnel. Resolution of the concerns with South
Korea was a high priority for AMPA and LGBT military families. LGBT service members with a same-sex
spouse were often faced with a very difficult situation of choosing between their family and a duty station
that would benefit their military career.

Approved countries now include: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium,
Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Coast Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan,
Laos, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua
New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan,
Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Approval for several other countries are
still pending.