Defense

September 20, 2013

Oklahoma. gov. tells Guard to deny same-sex benefits

Sean Murphy
Associated Press

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples, her office confirmed Sept. 17, despite a Pentagon directive to do so.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples.

Because of that prohibition, Governor Fallin’s general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples,î Weintz said. Gay couples that have been legally married in other states will be advised they can apply for those benefits on federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than state run facilities.

Fallin ordered the policy change on Sept. 5, Weintz said.

The policy is a shift from how the Guard had been handling requests for benefits from same-sex partners in the ranks of the roughly 9,500 guard soldiers and airmen in Oklahoma, said Oklahoma National Guard spokesman Col. Max Moss.

Moss said the agency had been processing benefits for same-sex soldiers just like those from heterosexual couples until Fallin’s office ordered the change in policy. He said state officials already had helped process benefit requests for two gay soldiers before Fallin’s directive.

Moss added that any soldiers who request marriage benefits for their same-sex spouse will be informed how they can receive those benefits.

If we have a situation where we have a soldier who’s in a same-sex marriage, we’re going to explain to that soldier how they can go about acquiring those benefits,î Moss said. At this point, that’s directing them to a federal facility.

We want our soldiers to have all the benefits to which they’re entitled to.

The Pentagon announced last month that same-sex spouses of military members will be eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses starting Sept. 3. That decision followed consultation with the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

After the U.S. Department of Defense began allowing same-sex couples to apply for identification cards and benefits, National Guard officials in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana said they would refuse to process the applications. Like Oklahoma, all three states have gay-marriage bans and are led by socially conservative Republican governors.

Fallin’s decision prompted the president of a support group for gay military families to call for the Defense Department to ìstop this discrimination.

Since the governor of Oklahoma has decided to join Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana in playing politics with our military families, we need immediate and decisive action from the administration and the defense department in affirming that all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, will be treated equally,î Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>