In a surprising change of events Defense Secretary Robert Gates has reversed the Pentagon's course by supporting legislation that would prevent service members from losing custody of their children due to deployment. The department had originally supported this cause of action as being too unsettling for the child(ren) involved.
In a letter to Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, Gates wrote that he now supported the federal legislation that would give a greater degree of protection to parents who were previously denied child custody. In cases where military service was the sole factor in denying child custody the courts would no longer be able to take this route.
Turner responded in a statement, "I join families of service members around the globe in thanking Secretary Gates for his support of their parental rights. Our men and women in uniform should not have to worry about losing their children while they defend us overseas."
Throughout this debate the Pentagon has reaffirmed that its primary concern is with the welfare of the children involved.
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