Management & Labor

Oklahoma Governor Stops National Guard from Processing Same-Sex Benefits

Oklahoma now joins Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana as the only states that have publicly said they will limit how and where such couples can register for benefits, despite a recent Pentagon directive that gay couples be treated equally.
September 18, 2013

In a policy reversal, the Oklahoma National Guard will no longer process benefit requests from same-sex couples after being notified by Gov. Mary Fallin's office that doing so violates state law banning gay marriage.

Oklahoma now joins Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana as the only states that have publicly said they will limit how and where such couples can register for benefits, despite a recent Pentagon directive that gay couples be treated equally. Oklahoma National Guard soldiers and airmen seeking such benefits are now being told they can apply at federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base or Fort Sill, but not at state-run facilities manned by state employees.

After a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June threw out the Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Department of Defense in August announced that it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal. Sept. 3 was the first working day that gays in the military could apply for such benefits, including health care coverage, housing allowances and survivor benefits.

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