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Dedicated Sailor’s Wife Was Barred from Retirement Ceremony

Sailor Wife Barred

The Department of the Navy is now being sought to intervene in a case involving the wife of a Ship’s Serviceman First Class and the commanding officer. The former is complaining about the decision of the latter not to give her proper recognition during her spouse’s retirement ceremony. The commanding officer insisted that doing such goes against the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the press release from OutServe-SLDN.

Navy Serviceman First Class or SH1 Melissa Smith married her wife TJ Jenkins in Maryland. After servicing the NAS Oceana in Virginia for two decades, she is now ready to retire. However her commanding officer refuses to give Smith’s legal wife the recognition given to any military spouses. The commanding officer reasoned that with the DOMA still in effect, he cannot permit Jenkins to receive any recognition during the ceremony.

Jenkins and Smith are raising six children together. Two of those children are Smith’s and two are Jenkins’s biologically. But that too has an issue. During the ceremony, only Smith’s own biological children are to be given recognition.

“My wife has served our nation for almost 20 years, and this is the way she is treated by her command?” Jenkins said in a statement Friday. “I believe that Captain Geis is being a bully and using DOMA as a shield to hide behind.  He wants to use the terms ‘service member’s partner,’ when in fact I’m not her partner, I’m her wife!”

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson doesn’t agree with the decision. In her statement, she said that such a case is a clear example of how the Defense of Marriage Act is causing inconsistency in the conduct of the military towards legal spouses of gay and lesbian service personnel.

“As long as DOMA is on the books, commanders will be forced to discriminate, despite the fact that our Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of Defense have made it clear that America’s LGBT service members and their families deserve to be treated fairly,” Robinson said Friday.

WKTR News also noted the inconsistency happening in the armed services. Other military service members have retired from service with their spouses given due recognition since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The President of the American Military Partner Association, Stephen Peters, said in press release, that the treatment of the couple is “despicable.” He added. “Certificates of appreciation have been given out repeatedly throughout the Navy to same-sex spouses since the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ It is simply outrageous that this commanding officer is now suddenly trying to use the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as an excuse not to honor the wife of this Sailor at her retirement ceremony.”