AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas National Guard refused to process requests from same-sex couples for benefits on Tuesday despite a Pentagon directive to do so, while Mississippi won't issue applications from state-owned offices. Both states cited their respective bans on gay marriage.
Tuesday was the first working day that gays in the military could apply for benefits after the Pentagon announced it would recognize same-sex marriages. The Department of Defense had announced it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Texas and Mississippi appeared to be the only two states with National Guards limiting how and where same-sex spouses of National Guard members could register for ID cards and benefits. Officials in a dozen other states that also ban gay marriage — including Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan and Georgia — said Tuesday that they will follow federal law and process all couples applying for benefits the same.
Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that because the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, his state agency couldn't process applications from gay and lesbian couples. But he said the Texas National Guard, Texas Air Guard and Texas State Guard would not deny anyone benefits.
"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 advised service members. He then listed 22 bases operated by the Department of Defense in Texas where service members could enroll their families.
A spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the Texas Military Forces, which oversees the state's National Guard units, was a state agency and must therefore obey state law.
Mississippi National Guard spokesman Tim Powell said the main factor in its determining where spouces could apply for benefits came down to the property owner. Mississippi also constitutionally bans gay marriage.
"It is our intent to provide benefits and services to our men and women in uniform and at the same time abide by federal and state statutes," Powell said.
Pentagon officials said Texas appeared to be the only state with a total ban on processing applications from gay and lesbian couples. Spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said federal officials will process all applications from same-sex couples with a marriage certificate from a state where it is legal.
In reality, these developments are only going to advance same-sex marriage in all 50 states much faster than anyone anticipated. The Supreme Court will have to grant marriage equality to all 50 states in the next year or two.
When are these morons going to learn that federal law trumps state law?
1. withhold their pay.
2. dishonorably discharge them.
The Texans should just put up "Straights Only" signs over the doors of the state agencies and "Homo Entrance" signs at the federally operated bases, you know, to clarify their position on the matter. Just like in the days of segregation.
They haven't got time to mess with this. They're too busy trying to locate a member of the Texas Air National Guard who went AWOL. They managed to track Lt. George W. Bush as far as Washington, DC but then the trail grew cold again. Will this military deserter ever be brought to justice?
This is just one example. The states have passed voter restrictions that are unconstitutional. They say that they won't allow ObamaCare. The list goes on and on, and Attorney General Eric Holder has done nothing to put them in their place. Maybe instead of threatening action if Syria crosses a red line, Obama should start dealing with the rebellion here at home.
Eric Holder announced last week that the Justice Department is suing the state of Texas over its recently enacted voter ID laws, and it's widely believed that North Carolina will be next.
Texas is acting like Gov. George Wallace of Alabama standing in the doorway of the school building refusing to integrate the schools.
Texas can stand in the doorway all it wants regarding issues of same-sex equality. It will lose.
It's unfortunate that the Texas National Guard is impeding progress and defying the law now. But eventually Texas and any other states or organizations that defy the law will lose.
What people may not know is that the cities of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio all voted for Obama. Houston even has a lesbian mayor. It's the religious rednecks who live in the smaller cities and rural areas that are holding everyone else back.
I agree with R9 - these people are not very smart.
There's a lot of that going on lately. In Michigan, voters get ignored all the time.
ha ha. It will never happen.
Texas proves itself a bastion of idiocy.
R10 is correct. We will continue to fight for our rights.
Surprise, surprise, the Louisiana National Guard is the latest to refuse to process same sex benefits.
I swear, every day now is a world of wonder, with all these gay advancements coming right and left. This through the eyes of someone who went to school when you couldn't even whisper the word 'gay'.
I'm glad I lived to see this.
Cudos to all those out there fighting in the trenches for equal rights every day.
The more these idiots dig in their heals with illogical defenses, the faster persons with any sense of logic come to support us.
[quote] The more these idiots dig in their heals