US, Italy Reach Agreement on Same-Sex Partnerships

The Department of Defense and the Italian government recently reached an agreement to recognize same-sex military spouses at bases in the country, according to an Aug. 7 release. Despite the 2011 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” many spouses of those stationed in foreign countries are not recognized as command-sponsored dependents, and therefore any costs incurred for transportation, housing, passports, and visas are their own responsibility. The change in the US-Italy status of forces agreement allows spouses to move to Italy and remain as long as the military spouse is stationed in Italy. Norway, Finland, and Cyprus—which each host 20 or fewer US service members—agreed to similar terms, making the total of 20 countries with US military presence that allow command sponsored same-sex spouses. In Germany, which recognizes same-sex partnerships, an agreement is still under negotiation. Thirty-six other countries have declined to change their agreements, reported In South Korea, the US has moved to allow commissary and exchange privileges to same-sex partners, but South Korean officials have not agreed to stamp SOFA visas.