The Texas National Guard has finally agreed to process benefits for same-sex couples at all National Guard facilities, no longer forcing military members to travel extra miles to federal facilities in order to be processed.
“We're going to go back to business as usual,” said Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, a spokeswoman of the Texas Guard. “It will be full service.”
Read more below the jump.The Texas Guard's decision this week comes after a long standoff with the Pentagon.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel previously criticized Texas and other states defying the Pentagon by refusing to allow National Guard state facilities to issue ID cards for same-sex spouses of military members to claim benefits.
DoD announced this summer it would provide benefits for same-sex couples.
“This is wrong,” Hagel said in remarks made last month.
“Not only does this violate the states' obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they're entitled to,” argued Hagel.
The Texas Guard originally cited a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to different-sex couples as an excuse to refuse processing LGBT military couples. Since the Texas Constitution defines marriages as between one man and one woman, Guard officials argued Pentagon orders conflicted with state laws.
News on Tuesday previously stated that the Texas Guard would be forcing all couples — straight and gay — to travel to federal bases by moving machinery necessary to make ID cards for benefits outside of state bases. The Texas Guard has since clarified that all couples will be immediately processed wherever these machines are located, including machines in state facilities.
All earlier states — with the exception of Georgia and Louisiana — have finally now agreed to comply with the Pentagon.