ACLU Launches Petition as Florida Decides if It Too Will Deny Gay Troop Benefits

Florida's attorney general won't say if the Florida National Guard will comply with an order form the Pentagon to begin offering partner benefits to troops with same-sex spouses, the Miami Herald reports:

TitshawMaj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., Florida’s adjutant general, wrote Attorney General Pam Bondi seeking the opinion on Sept. 6, essentially asking whether processing gay Guard members’ spouses for benefits would conflict with the state’s constitution, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Friday, Gerry Hammond, senior assistant attorney general, wrote Titshaw that his request for an opinion “provided insufficient information about the connection between the newly announced policy of the United States Secretary of Defense and your official duties as the head of the Florida Department of Military Affairs.”

…Hammond said Titshaw needs to conduct his own analysis first and then spell out for the attorney general’s office “the actions the new federal policy requires of” the Florida National Guard as well as “how any obligations imposed on you by the federal government might conflict with your duties under state law.”

So far, Texas, Misssissippi and Louisiana are refusing to comply with the order and process the spousal benefits, based on state laws banning same-sex marriage.

The states' refusal has prompted the ACLU to launch a petition to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. It reads:

Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana are set to defy your directive to provide federal benefits for the families of same-sex couples in the National Guard. When our service members serve our country at home or abroad, they need to know that their families will get the benefits they need, no matter what. We urge you to use the Department of Defense's authority to put these states in line and enforce equal access to benefits for all military families nationwide.


  1. Canadian Observer says

    I would dearly love to see the “will not comply” states told, fine, we close down the military facilities in your state and transfer them to another jurisdiction — especially in light of the way American pork barrel politics has distributed such facilities in the first place.

  2. john says

    By denying gay rights, these states are only going to make it happen sooner.
    So I say, deny away…it will force the law suits and pave the way for broader rights nationwide.

  3. CFroggy says

    Um, I’m sorry but who’s in charge of the military? I understand that states have some activation control over the National Guard but doesn’t the Federal Government have ultimate control? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Sean says

    The Florida National Guard WILL comply with an order from the Pentagon to begin offering partner benefits to troops with same-sex spouses or it WILL stop receiving Federal funding, INGRATES!

  5. Ninong says

    The governor of the state is commander-in-chief of the National Guard except when they are activated by the President as Commander-in-Chief. State activations ordered by the governor for local emergencies are paid for by the state and the guardsmen are allowed to perform police duties, something they cannot do when federally activated.

    However, the federal government pays all regular pay of national guardsmen! The federal government supplies the equipment, fuel, ammunition, uniforms, etc. In fact, the federal government pays at least 95% of the cost of the National Guard.

    Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi aren’t even paying for these benefits, they’re objecting strictly because they think it goes against their state laws to not grant and gay rights. Just look at the governors of those three states.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Pentagon tells them to shut up and pay the benefits, then we’ll have to see what these idiots do next. And, again, when I say pay, it’s still federal money that covers it.

  6. says

    Why not pay these vets through the Fed then withhold the funds from those normally paid to those states. Unless those states aren’t receiving any Federal funds, the vets would get their money and the states would end up paying for it in the long run.

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