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And At The Buzzer, It’s Chuck Hagel – 6, Homophobic States – 0

by Jean Ann Esselink on December 14, 2013

in Actions,DOMA,Jean Ann Esselink,News

Post image for And At The Buzzer, It’s Chuck Hagel – 6, Homophobic States – 0

The Navy Times reported yesterday, that all six of the states that refused to allow same-sex married couples to apply for benefits at state run National Guard bases, have now agreed to comply.

After the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, the Pentagon issued an order for the all branches of the military to extend benefits to same-sex married couples, in the same manner they do for heterosexual married couples. Claiming their state constitutions did not allow them to recognize same-sex marriages, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Oklahoma all refused to comply. Military personnel serving on a National Guard bases in those states were forced to travel, sometimes hundreds of miles, in order to submit an application for the benefits they were due.

Secretary of Defense Hagel put pressure on the six states, publicly ordering the holdouts to comply with the new policy or else. Though the “or else” was never publicly spelled out, National Guard bases get most of their funding from the federal government, if the Defense Department were to withhold that money, states would either have to close their bases, or blow a huge hole in their state budgets trying to cover the shortfall.

One by one, all six states gave in. West Virginia complied immediately. Oklahoma threw a tantrum, deciding their bases would not process claims for anyone, straight or gay. All married military members now have to make their applications on a Federal base. Texas cut a deal with the Pentagon for the feds to supply the personnel and pay for processing the claims. After Texas caved, Louisiana gave up the fight.

At the start of the week, only Mississippi and Georgia were out of compliance. An interesting coincidence, after The Daily Show’s recent comedy piece asked which of those two states will be last to legalize same-sex marriage. I shall post it below in case you haven’t seen it. But for the record, Mississippi was the last holdout in the military same-sex benefit tantrum of 2013.

I believe that makes the final score, Secretary Hagel-6. Homophobic States-0.


Mississippi flag image is from Wikipedia

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LOrion December 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Ah HA! You changed the name… I wondered why the title was Denver ZIP CODE?! …and there were NINE states: 'Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday that six weeks of negotiations with the National Guard Bureau and state-level officials has resolved the political concerns and legal issues from the states, which included Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia."

LOrion December 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

…and the NAVY TIMES reports the screwball machinations this way: Each state, some of which have laws barring same-sex marriages, had to develop its own way to circumvent the political and legal barriers to issuing gay and lesbian spouses official military identification cards.

Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are placing the identification card machine operators in a temporary federal status to issue ID cards and enroll same-sex spouses in the Dependent Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS.

Florida, Oklahoma, and South Carolina moved the National Guard ID card machines to facilities on federal installations to avoid any conflict with state laws.

Indiana and West Virginia simply dropped their opposition and have begun processing ID cards and DEERS enrollments at all guard facilities.

JayJonson December 15, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thanks, LOrion, for pointing out that states like Florida, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are not really in compliance with DOD policy. They simply decided to punish straight couples as well as gay couples. When Hagel announced the policy, he denounced the fact that gay couples in these states would have to travel long distances to get ID cards. They still do. The only difference in those three states is that straight couples also do. Not a good solution.

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