Aviano couple receives first same-sex joint spouse assignment
They waited patiently each day, week and month checking the news, filing repeals and losing hope.
But, Master Sgt. Angela Shunk and Tech. Sgt. Stacy Shunk received the news they had been longing for on Sept. 3, 2013, when the two Aviano Airmen were informed that they had received an assignment together under the joint spouse program, the first of its kind in the Air Force since a Supreme Court decision about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Although legally married in the state of New York on March, 17, 2012, DOMA prohibited the Department of Defense from extending benefits, such as joint spouse assignment consideration, to same-sex spouses.
“Since our marriage wasn’t recognized by federal government at the time, we submitted a request for an exception to policy,” said Angela Shunk. “It came back as a no.”
Their final hope rested upon the Supreme Court, which was reviewing the constitutionality of DOMA.
“Since Supreme Court decisions come out every Thursday in June, we’d be waiting and watching the news, and every week it wasn’t DOMA,” said Angela Shunk. “Finally, in the last week, it was the DOMA decision, and we had [the television] on at work. On June 26, our marriage was federally acknowledged. We were ecstatic.”
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