Nine states have refused to grant full benefits to same-sex couples serving in the National Guard, prompting Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to take action himself to ensure that couples receive the benefits they deserve.
In a speech at the Anti-Defamation League in New York Thursday, Hagel said that he was directing the state Guards to issue same-sex couples ID cards and the benefits that come with them. He asked National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass to meet with the Guard state leaders in the nine states in order to resolve the issue.
“Not only does this violate the states’ obligations 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,” Hagel said, according to prepared remarks of his speech.
The states that refused to grant full benefits to same-sex couples in the National Guard include Texas, West Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
During the first appearance of a sitting secretary of defense at the Anti-Defamation League in 20 years, Hagel said he would “take further action” if necessary.
It’s truly remarkable how the military has jumped to the forefront of social progress in this regard.