|In a speech given before the Anti-Defamation League in New York, Hagel revealed that he had ordered the head of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass, "to take immediate action to remedy this situation."
Hagel said commanders "will be expected to comply with both lawful direction and [Pentagon] policy" as 45 other states and jurisdictions now do.
"This is wrong. It causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish," Hagel argued in his speech. "At my direction, (Grass) will meet with the adjutants general from the states where these ID cards are being denied."
It isn't clear if Hagel's action would force the Texas Guard to immediately process same-sex couples' benefits, but his stance has made it clear the DoD finds it unacceptable that any state would make it unreasonably difficult for our military heroes to access the benefits they are entitled to.
The Associated Press reports states refusing to comply are Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Pentagon says there are 114 Army and Air National Guard sites in those nine states that are not providing ID cards to eligible same-sex spouses.
Hagel said the denial "furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish."
The Defense Department announced earlier in August that it would issue benefits to same-sex spouses of military members as well as civilian workers, decision made after the Supreme Court ruled that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
Texas, however, refused to issue identification cards to same-sex spouses at its National Guard facilities. The excuse given was that Pentagon edict clashed with the Texas Constitution and the Texas Family Code.
Texas passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005, a time when marriage equality had not yet seen the tremendous wave of support it holds in the present day. The same measure would likely fail to pass today.
The Texas National Guard's adjutant general, Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols, said in an Aug. 30 policy memo his organization's Camp Mabry headquarters in Austin and other facilities around the state could not enroll same-sex families "until we receive clarification."
Josh Havens, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry, said the Texas Guard is a state agency and "as such is obligated to adhere to the Texas Constitution and the laws of this state, which clearly define marriage as between one man and one woman."
Same-sex spouses of members of the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard have been able to sign up for benefits at twenty U.S. military sites around the state. These include three installations that are part of Joint Base San Antonio, as well as Fort Hood in Killeen and Fort Bliss in El Paso.