PHOTOS: Same-sex spouses are finally respected by the U.S. military

Today, September 3, 2013, the same-sex spouses of U.S. service members finally became eligible for the legal respect and protections that marriage extends to the spouses of all other members of the U.S. military. It's the latest victory in the implementation of the repeal of the central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which for 16 years deprived legally married same-sex couples of more than 1,100 protections and responsibilities of marriage. 

Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the news, saying: "It is now the department's policy to treat all married military personnel equally." The new policy allows unmarried gay and lesbian servicemembers living in states without the freedom to marry up to ten days of leave so that they can travel to marriage states or the District of Columbia and legally wed their partner. 

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon praised the Defense Department for the decision while acknowledging the need for the freedom to marry across the country, saying, "We applaud the Defense Department for acting swiftly and doing all within its power to ensure that married gay and lesbian service members are treated equally. The fact that same-sex couples who are serving at military bases throughout the country must in many cases travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to get married and be treated as equals by the Pentagon highlights the need to move quickly to national resolution, with the freedom to marry guaranteed to loving and committed couples nationwide."

The American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN are celebrating the Day of Recognition today by encouraging their members to send photos of military spouses getting their ID cards. Learn more about the process of being respected as a spouse HERE. Check out photos of spouses receiving their military ID cards for the first time:

Military spouse Kathryn Trammell, currently stationed with her wife First Lieutenant Hope Cronin in Okinawa, Japan, was one of the first military spouses receive her military spouse identification card! (Via American Military Partner Association)

U.S. Marine Corps Major Romm Gatongay and his husband Jay Muntz received their ID at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. (Via American Military Partner Association)

Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack and her wife Ashley Broadway got an ID card for Ashley today in North Carolina. The couple shared their story of how not having this ID card hurt them and left them insecure earlier this year. Now, because they live in North Carolina, Ashley and Heather are still disrespected by the state where they live - the moment they leave the military base, their state grants their 15 years of love and commitment no legal respect. (Via American Military Partner Association)

Joshua Snyder-Hill, married to Major Stephen Snyder-Hill, visited the office to get his ID this morning, too - although he pointed out that he and his husband are not respected by their home state of Ohio, where same-sex couples cannot marry. The couple shared their story with Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN last year for Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry in order to amplify the stories of U.S. servicemembers hurt by DOMA. Learn more about Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry HERE. (Via OutServe-SLDN)

And at Ramstein Air Base, Senior Master Sergeant Tammy Thompson and her wife Shannon McDaniel were the first in line this morning to get a dependent ID Card! (Via OutServe-SLDN)

Mindy and Stephanie Bodhi and their child, based in Virginia, got their military spouse ID card this morning. (Via American Military Partner Association)

And so did these other great couples and families! 

(Via American Military Partner Association)

(Via American Military Partner Association)

(Via American Military Partner Association)

For more information on what the end of DOMA means for same-sex couples, check out this 'AFTER DOMA' guide