Texas National Guard Refuses to Process Same-Sex Couples Benefits
Defying a Pentagon directive, the Texas National Guard, using the Texas constitution’s ban on gay marriage as a bulwark, refused to process requests on Tuesday from same-sex couples who were looking for benefits. Texas is apparently the only state that refused to process the requests from gay and lesbian couples, according to the Pentagon.
After the Supreme Court ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Defense (DOD) said that in states that recognized same-sex marriage, it would also recognize them.
Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, explained that if a same-sex couple applies at a federal installation, they would receive benefits, but if they applied at the Texas state level, the requests would not be processed due to the state law against same-sex marriage. He said, "However, the (Texas Military Forces) remains committed to ensuring its military personnel and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled. As such, we encourage anyone affected by this issue to enroll for benefits at a federal installation." He listed 22 bases of the Department of Defense in Texas where enrollment of service members was available.
Stephen Peters, president of American Military Partner Association, an LGBT service member support group, said, "It's truly outrageous that the State of Texas has decided to play politics with our military families.Our military families are already dealing with enough problems and the last thing they need is more discrimination from the state of Texas."
Laura Lopez, a spokeswoman for Texas Military Forces, which superintends the Texas National Guard units, said, "Despite the legal conflict, the (Texas Military Forces) remains committed to ensuring military personnel and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled."
U.S. officials say that the Defense Department knows about Texas and the distinct stand it has taken, but has but has not yet decided what to do about it.