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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communicati...
 




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>