SecDef “Blasts” States Not Granting Homosexuals ID Cards

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel “blasted” nine states whose National Guard bureaus have refused to process requests for homosexual benefits at their state facilities.  In his Oct 31 speech to the Anti-Defamation League, Hagel said

several states today are refusing to issue these IDs to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities.  Not only does this violate the states’ obligations under federal law, but 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.

This is wrong.  It causes division among our ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish, as has the ADL.

The situation is intriguing, because by calling these states “wrong,” Secretary Hagel appears to be calling the citizens who voted state laws into place “wrong.”  If a state has a constitutional amendment that refuses to recognize a homosexual relationship — an amendment passed by the citizens of the state — it naturally follows that the offices of the state, including its National Guard, would adhere to those laws.

Secretary Hagel continued: 

Today, I directed the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank Grass, to take immediate action to remedy this situation.  At my direction, he will meet with the Adjutants General from the states where these ID cards are being declined and denied.  The Adjutants General will be expected to comply with both lawful direction and DoD policy, in line with the practices of 45 other states and jurisdictions.

There may be a Federalism issue at play, as Secretary Hagel says the states are not outright preventing homosexuals from getting IDs, they’re only telling them to go to federal facilities.  The relationship among the non-federalized National Guard (a Title 32 organization) and the US Department of Defense (a Title 10 organization) can sometimes be complicated; it is unclear whether the DoD has the authority to order a state’s National Guard to act in a way that might violate its own constitution or laws.  Secretary Hagel promises to “take further action” if the states do not “comply.”

Secretary Hagel also ordered General Grass to “meet with the Adjutants General,” but those AGs may not be able to take action without authorization from their governors.  In response, Oklahoma said it would begin processing such paperwork at National Guard facilities — but only federally-owned facilities.  Texas did the same.  Louisiana took a slightly different path and federalized “employees at National Guard sites.”

The homosexual advocacy group American Military Partner Association praised Secretary Hagel’s stance against the “rogue” states.