SecDef Hagel Releases Statement on Same-Sex Benefits
Following the recent kerfuffle over the National Guard and state laws regarding homosexual benefits, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a statement seeming to declare the matter closed:
On Oct. 31, I called on the chief of the National Guard Bureau to work with several states to fully implement Department of Defense policy by providing DoD identification cards to all eligible military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation. Following consultations between the National Guard Bureau and the adjutants general of the states, all eligible service members, dependents and retirees – including same-sex spouses – are now able to obtain ID cards in every state…
The phrasing of the statement is interesting, because (publicly, at least) there didn’t seem to have been an issue of troops obtaining “ID cards in every state.” One issue that had arisen was whether all troops could get benefits at National Guard facilities, as opposed to being referred to Federal facilities. Some states were referring homosexuals seeking recognition as a couple to Federal facilities to avoid perceived conflict with state laws or Constitutions. (It’s unclear if there was a state in question that had no Federal installations.)
At last report, a few states continue to restrict how benefits can be accorded to homosexuals, even if everyone can obtain ID cards in their state.
As previously discussed, Guard/Active Duty issues can be complex even without the potential conflict between state and federal policies regarding controversial subjects.