The Texas National Guard on Tuesday
announced that it would no longer bar gay and lesbian couples from
registering for benefits at state-owned bases.
“We're going to go back to business
as usual,” Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, a spokeswoman for the Texas
National Guard, told the San
In response to a Supreme Court ruling
that gutted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited
federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples,
the Pentagon announced it would recognize such marriages for the
purpose of benefits.
As of September 3, service members in a
marriage with a member of the same sex could apply for spousal
But National Guard bases in nine states
refused to process the requests and instead encouraged gay troops to
enroll at bases operated by the Department of Defense.
Major General John Nichols, the
commander of the Texas National Guard, argued that the Guard was
bound by Texas law, which doesn't recognize the marriages of gay
The Texas Military Forces, the umbrella
command of all Texas National Guard units, said in a statement that
the registrations would be handled by federal personnel.
“The Department of Defense has
approved a new procedure for enrolling National Guard members and
their dependents in benefit programs,” the statement read. “The
new procedure essentially recognizes the conflict between the Texas
Constitution and DOD policy mandating the enrollment of same-gender
dependent spouses in benefits programs.”
Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary
Fallin, a Republican, announced that state-owned National Guard bases
longer process military spouse benefit applications for either
straight or gay troops.