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USA: All 50 States Now Processing Benefits for Same-Sex National Guard Couples

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Chuck HagelIt looks like US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has won the standoff with the rogue states who had vowed not to process benefits for same-sex couples in the National Guard.

Think Progress reports:

A statement made Friday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirms that all states are now providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of National Guard service members:

HAGEL: On Oct. 31, I called on the chief of the National Guard Bureau to work with several states to fully implement Department of Defense policy by providing DoD identification cards to all eligible military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation. Following consultations between the National Guard Bureau and the adjutants general of the states, all eligible service members, dependents and retirees — including same-sex spouses — are now able to obtain ID cards in every state. All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country. They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law. All of DoD is committed to pursuing equal opportunities for all who serve this nation, and I will continue to work to ensure our men and women in uniform as well as their families have full and equal access to the benefits they deserve.

Mississippi was the last holdout. The key to the change? Using federal employees, even at state facilities, to process the benefit claims.

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USA, Georgia: State Agrees to Process Benefits for National Guard Same-Sex Couples

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Georgia mapAnother state has caved on processing benefits for same-sex couples who are part of the state’s National Guard.

The Washington Blade reports:

The Georgia National Guard has become the latest state to agree to process spousal benefit applications for troops in same-sex marriages, according to two sources familiar with the decision. Maj. Jon Craig, a National Guard Bureau spokesperson, said Georgia had agreed to process applications to grant same-sex spouses military IDs last week in a decision along the lines of Texas and Louisiana. “With Georgia, what it came down to was the authorization to put some state employees on temporary federal status,” Craig said.

That means that Mississippi is the only state still standing on the issue.

SDGLN reports:

Mississippi is now the only state in the union to violate Pentagon policy to provide spousal benefits to same-gender couples… Mississippi is expected to comply with the policy, and the Pentagon is putting pressure on the state’s National Guard to provide the benefits to same-gender military couples as they do opposite-gender couples.

One by one like dominoes they fall…

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USA, Texas State Follows in Oklahoma’s Footsteps, Won’t Process Benefits For Any National Guard Couples

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Texas Governor Rick PerryRick Perry decided to have Texas issue a giant “f*ck you” to his state’s National Guard couples.

America Blog explains:

Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to no longer process benefits for heterosexual service members in the state, as a means of avoiding having to process such benefits for gay service members. It’s a veritable rerun of the South’s strategy during the civil rights era to shut down city schools and swimming pools, rather than let African-Americans spoil the racist fun through integration. The policy also had an added discriminatory benefit – by shutting down the pools, racist southern politicians hoped whites would blame blacks for the inconvenience.

It’s amazing the lengths these folks will go to in order to stick it to gay and lesbian couples.

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USA, Oklahoma: Governor to Deny Benefits to All National Guard Members to Spite Gays

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Oklahoma Gov. Mary FallinOklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin thinks she’s found a work-around for GOP bigotry when it comes to same sex National Guard couples.

Think Progress reports:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced earlier this month that state-owned National Guard facilities will no longer allow any married couples to apply for spousal benefits, regardless of whether they are same-sex or opposite-sex. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act means that servicemembers with same-sex spouses are now eligible for federal benefits. Fallin’s unusual tactic is designed to avoid having to recognize those couples, which she asserts would violate Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman:

FALLIN: Oklahoma law is clear. The state of Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor does it confer marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision reached today allows the National Guard to obey Oklahoma law without violating federal rules or policies. It protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.

How f*cking spiteful is that? Let’s hope she just alienated a large chunk of her state’s armed forces…

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USA, Kentucky: National Guard Will Process Benefits for Married Same Sex Couples

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Kentucky National GuardLooks like another state is going ahead and processing benefits claims from married same sex couples.

Edge Boston reports:

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is allowing spouses of gay National Guard members to apply for federal marriage benefits. The Courier-Journal reports Kentucky Adjutant General Edward Tonini recommended the state follow Defense Department policy and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson says the governor affirmed the recommendation.

When will the other states come around?

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USA: Rogue States Fight Back Over Pentagon National Guard Orders

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

US Department of DefenseIt looks like some states are not going to quietly go along with the Secretary of Defense’s orders to process benefits for same sex partners of National Guard members.

Joe.My.God reports:

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that he was ordering all National Guard units to comply with Pentagon policy regarding spousal benefits for gay soldiers. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin may go to court to stop him. Alex Weintz, spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, said she “is working with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to evaluate the legal options available to the Oklahoma National Guard.” Weintz stopped short of saying Oklahoma will refuse to follow Hagel’s order, but made it clear Fallin would not go along with it willingly. “Gov. Fallin is calling on President Obama and Secretary Hagel to stop using the National Guard as a pawn in a larger social agenda,” said Weintz. “The president has made it clear he supports gay marriage. He has the legal authority to order federal agencies to recognize gay marriages. He does not have the legal authority to force state agencies to do so, or to unilaterally rewrite state laws or state constitutions.”

Ah, but isn’t the National Guard part of the US Military? President Bush seemed to think so when he sent them to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Texas is thinking the same thing as Okalhoma.

Towleroad.com reports:

Josh Havens, a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, said, “Texas Military Forces is a state agency, and as such is obligated to adhere to the Texas Constitution and the laws of this state which clearly define marriage as between one man and one woman.”

As are Mississippi and Georgia:

Bryant says he does not have the constitutional authority to lift the ban. “The Mississippi Constitution clearly defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and expressly prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions,” Bryant said through a spokesman.

Georgia has issued a similar statement: “The State of Georgia does not recognize same sex marriages and is not authorizing the Georgia National Guard to process the applications for same-sex married benefits at state facilities. Any personnel seeking to apply for same-sex married benefits will be referred to federal facilities.”

This may need a lawsuit to resolve the issue.

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USA: Defense Secretary Orders States to Provide Same Sex Benefits to National Guard Members

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Chuck HagelActing to shut down a growing red-state trend of denying benefits to same sex partners of National Guard members, US Defense Secretary Chuch Hagel just ordered those states to shape up.

Think Progress reports:

All spouses of service members are entitled to DoD ID cards, and the benefits that come with them. But several states today are refusing to issue these IDs to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities. Not only does this violate the states’ obligations under federal law, but their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they’re entitled to.

This is wrong. It causes division among our ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish, as has the ADL. Today, I directed the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank Grass, to take immediate action to remedy this situation. At my direction, he will meet with the Adjutants General from the states where these ID cards are being declined and denied. The Adjutants General will be expected to comply with both lawful direction and DoD policy, in line with the practices of 45 other states and jurisdictions.

Slowly and inexorably, same sex couples are winning the rights they deserve, even in the reddest of red states.

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USA, Oklahoma: Fourth State Says It Won’t Process National Guard Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Oklahoma Gov. Mary FallinOklahoma has joined Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana in deciding not to process military benefits for same-sex couples in the National Guard.

Gay Star News reports:

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has directed the state’s National Guard not to process military benefits for same-sex couples. As reported by Navy Times Alex Weintz, the governor’s spokesman, insisted Fallin was following the wishes of voters who banned gay marriages in the state. According to the gay rights group Lambda Legal, in 2004 the southern US state amended its constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages; Oklahoma does not recognize gay unions from other states.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the latest in our series of Profiles in Cowardice.

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USA, North Carolina: National Guard to Recognize Same Sex Marriages

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

North Carolina MapBucking the Southern trend, officials announced the state’s National Guard will recognize same sex marriages.

WRAL reports:

The North Carolina National Guard announced Monday that it will begin recognizing same-sex marriages, a policy shift that could have substantial financial help for families not previously eligible for the same federal military benefits awarded to heterosexual couples. Spokesman Lt. Col. Maury A. Williams said the Guard will abide by U.S. Department of Defense orders extending benefits to the same-sex spouses of uniformed service members. Williams said couples who wed in states where same-sex marriage is legal can begin applying for benefits immediately.

Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, take note.

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USA, Louisiana: State is Third to Deny Benefits to National Guard’s Gay/Lesbian Soldiers

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Louisiana National Guard LogoAfter Texas and Mississippi, the next state over has also declined to process benefits claims for same sex partners of its National Guard soldiers.

Towleroad.com reports:

Earlier this week, Towleroad reported that both Texas and Mississippi were refusing to comply with orders from the Pentagon to begin offering partner benefits to troops with same-sex spouses, based on state laws banning same-sex marriage. Now Louisiana has joined them: The Louisiana National Guard won’t process benefits for same-sex couples because the state Constitution does not recognize gay marriage, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday. The directive directly contradicts a Pentagon policy issued Tuesday requiring the military to honor such benefits requests.

Block, block, block. Then sabotage, sabotage, sabotage. That’s all they know how to do.

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