Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to
stop processing benefits requests from gay and lesbian service members.
As of September 3, service members in a marriage with a member of
the same sex could apply for spousal benefits such as military I.D.
cards, healthcare coverage, housing allowances and survivor benefits.
The Pentagon announced last month that it would recognize the legal
marriages of gay troops following a Supreme Court ruling that gutted
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited federal agencies
from recognizing such unions.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told
the AP that the agency was unable to process applications from
gay couples because Oklahoma constitutionally bans such unions.
“Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin's general counsel has
advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of
same-sex couples,” Weintz said. “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.”
Weintz said that Fallin ordered the policy change on September 5.
National Guard officials in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana are
also refusing to process benefit requests from gay troops. All four
states are run by conservative Republican governors.