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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>