Some National Guards refuse to process gay couples’ applications for benefits

Citing gay marriage bans, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana refer applicants to federal bases

National Guard commanders in Texas and Mississippi will not allow same-sex military couples to apply for marriage benefits at state facilities, despite an order from the Pentagon, The Washington Post reports. Tuesday, Sept 3, was the first day service members could apply for benefits after the Department of Defense said it would recognize legal same-sex marriages. National Guard applicants were turned away in Texas and Mississippi, however, and told to go to federal military bases, because state constitutions ban the recognition of same-sex marriages.

WJTV reports that Louisiana’s National Guard also refuses to process gay couples’ requests for benefits. National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kazmierzak also notes that Louisiana’s constitution doesn’t recognize gay marriage, but guard personnel can file requests for benefits with federal installations in the state.

Texas National Guard commander John Nicholas wrote that the Guard “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.”

Thirteen other US states that ban gay marriage all allowed National Guard members to apply for benefits, The Associated Press reports.

Niko Bell

Niko Bell is a writer, editor and translator from Vancouver. He writes about sexual health, science, food and language.

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