Oklahoma governor orders National Guard to stop benefits for same-sex couples

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September 25, 2013

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

By Greg Janetka

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: In opposition to a directive from the Pentagon, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) has instructed the state's National Guard to stop precessing benefit requests for same-sex couples, saying it is in violation of the state ban on gay marriage that was passed by voters in 2004.[1] The National Guard in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana has also said it won't process benefits for same-sex couples, while other states may join as well.

Referencing the state ban, Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz explained the governor's position, saying “Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin’s general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples. 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.”[2]

The policy, which the governor ordered on September 5, was not publicly confirmed by her office until September 17. The Guard began treating such requests in the same manner as those of heterosexual couples on September 3, processing two before being notified by the governor's general counsel to stop such action.[3]

In response, Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, called on the Defense Department to end such action, saying, “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.”[4]

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