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All States Now Providing Same-Sex Benefits To National Guard Servicemembers

By Zack Ford on December 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm

"All States Now Providing Same-Sex Benefits To National Guard Servicemembers"

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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 servicemembers:

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.

As of this week, Mississippi was the last state still not providing the benefits, citing its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A defense official confirmed to the Washington Blade that Mississippi had made the necessary corrections sometime this week, following the same tactic as Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas of using federal employees to process the benefits, even at state-run facilities.

Both Oklahoma and South Carolina, which originally resisted processing the benefits, arrived at a different solution, one that punishes all couples to avoid any interaction between same-sex marriages and state facilities. The machines used to produce the ID cards were all moved to federal-run facilities, forcing all couples, straight or gay, to travel to those facilities, even if a state facility is closer.

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