Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Thursday criticized states that are refusing to process benefits for gay and lesbian servicemembers.

“This is wrong,” Hagel said in addressing an Anti-Defamation League audience in New York. “It causes division among our ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish, as has the ADL.”

“Not only does this violate the states' obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequity by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they're entitled to.”

According to the AP, Hagel did not name the states. However, the Pentagon has named nine: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

The Pentagon announced in August 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.

As of September 3, servicemembers in a marriage with a member of the same sex could apply for spousal benefits.

But National Guard bases in several states refused to process the requests and instead encouraged gay troops to enroll at bases operated by the Department of Defense.

Hagel said he instructed General Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, to “take immediate action to remedy this situation.”

Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, an advocacy group for gay troops, praised Hagel's comments.

“Secretary Hagel has made it clear the National Guard in these few rogue states are failing to live up to their obligations to military families under federal law,” Peters told the AP. “We applaud him in showing strong leadership by ordering the National Guard in these states to comply and follow lawful direction and DoD policy.”