Defense Secretary Hagel Expands Same-Sex Benefits

HagelNine 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.

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  • formerlywhatithink

    It’s truly remarkable how the military has jumped to the forefront of social progress in this regard.

    I agree, and I’m glad to see Sec. Hagel doing something.

    But, this really bothers me:

    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.

    The military is not a democracy. Gen. Grass should do one thing and one thing only: give a direct order. Period. There should be no meetings, no requests, no asking to “resolve” something. You order them to give the due benefits or show them the door.

    • muselet

      The meetings may consist of General Grass telling the state leaders, “You will follow the Secretary’s directive or you will be replaced. Dismissed.”

      Me, I’m willing to wait and see what comes of this.

      –alopecia

      • http://phydeauxpseaks.blogspot.com/ Bob Rutledge

        Yup.

        “I am resolved to kick your sorry ass to Leavenworth and back if you don’t follow the goddamn orders of the SecDef.”

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      I agree with muselet, with my limited experience, a superior officer coming to see you for such a purpose is going to give you an ass chewing followed by an order. Wish I could be a little birdy on someone’s shoulder for that meeting.

      • muselet

        A video of the meeting(s) would be fun to watch.

        –alopecia

    • Brutlyhonest

      Sounds fine and dandy (haha dandy) but state guards don’t fall under the same rules.

      Before I retired I was seeing more and more of the younger enlistees and officers who didn’t give a shit what you were as long as you could do your job.

  • muselet

    (Oops. Put the comment in the wrong spot. Stupid fat fingers!)

    –alopecia

    • Pink No More

      The fingers you have used to type are too fat. To obtain a special typing wand, please mash the keyboard with your hand now.

      • muselet

        huvEGORAE’PRIHNegrohiuAEORGHI

        Hmph. Either it didn’t work or the instructions are in Klingon.

        –alopecia

        • Pink No More

          …not a Simpsons fan I see

          • muselet

            I am, actually. I just missed the reference (it’s been a while since I saw “King-Size Homer”).

            –alopecia