Texas Defies Pentagon, Withholds Spousal Benefits for Gay Troops

Today is the day that the U.S. military begins offering partner benefits to troops with same-sex spouses, but not all agencies are complying with the orders which were delivered in a memo on August 13.

TmfThe Texas Military Forces are withholding the benefits based on Texas' law banning same-sex marriage, the Washington Blade reports:

Alicia Butler, an Austin, Texas, attorney, said she was rejected when she tried to register with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, the military’s health benefits system, when she applied on Tuesday at Camp Mabry, where her spouse, Judith Chedville, a nurse and Iraq war veteran, is stationed as a member of the National Guard.

“We were told that Texas would not register us into the system and would not issue an ID card for me,” Butler said. “We were told that if she was active duty they would do that for me, but not for a National Guard member because she’s part of the Texas National Guard.”

The benefits include military IDs, health, pension, and housing, but according to reports guidance has been issued and gays and their spouses are being told they must seek out a federal facility:

Butler said she was denied benefits as the American Military Partners Association, an LGBT military group, says it was leaked apparent guidance indicating that Texas Military Forces, or the Texas National Guard, wouldn’t honor the U.S. armed forces’ plan to begin offering partner benefits to gay troops because the Texas Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.

“The TXMF is a state agency under the authority and direction of the Texas state government,” the apparent guidance states. “Therefore, the TXMF must consider that the Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code 6.204 conflicts with the DoD policy extending benefits to same-sex spouses. Due to this potential conflict, we are unable to enroll same-sex families into DEERs at our state supported facilities until we receive legal clarification.”

Comments

  1. Steve says

    Nonsense. The National Guard has to follow federal law and it is federally funded. If they want to be a state force, Texas can give back all the toys the DoD paid for and pay all expenses. Until then they have to do exactly what the Pentagon tells them to do.

    There really need to be professional consequences for the vegetable who decided this.

  2. HadenoughBS says

    I just love how our extremist right wing bigoted politicos here in Texas play “thumb the nose” at the federal government, especially when it involves those of us in the LGBT community. It’s about time DC came down hard on these backward yokels for refusing to follow federal guidance. Rick Perry and his GOPer minions need some education how this is going to work.

  3. ral5050 says

    I think this is good. To have these sorts of challenges early in the laws implementation just means a court will slap them and we can move on to a victory.

    Texas, Texas, Texas…..

  4. Joseph says

    While I deplore TX for doing this, it seems they are within their right under state law. The SCOTUS decision did not impact states with bans. While couples are recognized federally, they are not at all state levels. TX is not doing anything illegal here, as much as I hate to admit it. Immoral — that’s another matter.

  5. Anthony says

    Guys don’t badmouth Texas, I visited in March and it is getting a lot better for gay people there (as is the rest of the country).

    And it is a hell of a lot better than Russia, mind you.

  6. johnny says

    Quote: “…gays and their spouses are being told they must seek out a federal facility”

    So, why didn’t they just do that instead of going to a state facility? They could easily skip the B.S., get their benefits and move on.

    But it’s nice to see TX govt. idiots get roasted over the coals, either way.

  7. Steve says

    @Johnny
    Often the next federal base is hours away. It’s simply impractical and not something anyone should have to do. Other states are complying with the law and Texas has to as well.

  8. SoLeftImRight says

    Oh Texas, you really do still think you are not part of this country, don’t you? Try putting this up against now-determined federal law, and you will lose.

  9. Randomtexan#1 says

    So, I am automatically thrown under the bus with the rest of Texas. It’s funny, I’m bi and I get along just fine, of course, then again I have not found a spouse yet.
    Even through this, I will say that Obama recently barred any future plans for Texas to secede, sorry guys. Plus, what would you do with people like me? 😛

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