Chuck Hagel | DOMA | Gay Marriage | Military | News

Chuck Hagel Blasts Rogue States Over Gay Spousal Benefits, Issues Stern Order: VIDEO


In a blistering speech delivered to the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday night, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel blasted the rogue states which are refusing to issue spousal benefits at their National Guard facilities, saying their actions are wrong, hurt the military, and further prejudice.

Defense_maddowHagel issued a stern order for those states to comply with federal law or he will take further action.

We've been covering this issue over the past couple of months. South Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are the states that are not in compliance with the Pentagon orders..

Here are Hagel's remarks, via the White House:

When the Supreme Court issued its decision on the Defense of Marriage Act this summer, the Department of Defense immediately began working on providing the same benefits to all eligible spouses, regardless of sexual orientation. We did it because everyone who serves our country in uniform, everyone in this country, should receive all the benefits they deserve, and they've earned, and in accordance with the law. Everyone's rights must be protected.

This means that all spouses of service members are entitled to DoD ID cards, and the benefits that come with them. But 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.

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.

Whether they are responding to natural disasters here at home, in their states, or fighting in Afghanistan, our National Guardsmen all wear the uniform of the United States of America. They are serving this country. They – and their families – are entitled to all the benefits and respect accorded to all of our military men and women.

Watch Rachel Maddow cover Hagel's order, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Fantastic! He said it all, and perfectly.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 1, 2013 8:02:23 AM

  2. They need to This is America. They are essentially thumbing their noses at American law.

    Posted by: Geoff | Nov 1, 2013 8:19:14 AM

  3. YES!!!!!!yes, yes, yes! 'Bout time the military woke-up to this injustice. Get 'em Chuck!

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Nov 1, 2013 8:30:50 AM

  4. Way to go, Chuck!

    Posted by: Clayton | Nov 1, 2013 8:35:02 AM

  5. I watched this speech. Frankly, I was shocked that Mr. Hagel would speak so forcefully about those rogue states and their defiance of federal law. Even more shocking was the hearty applause he was given. This is quite astounding and very much needed. The gloves come off now. We need to confront every last vestige and manifestation of LGBTQ bigotry, get in its face and put an end to it once and for all.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Nov 1, 2013 9:03:02 AM

  6. Direct and willful refusal to obey lawfully given orders. Whether they like it or not, the National Guard is a part of the US Armed Forces and must obey orders. Failure is an exceedingly serious offense.

    These states and their military officers are facing arrest, a court martial, and a VERY long time in military prison.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Nov 1, 2013 9:12:20 AM

  7. I am so proud to here this be the language of this moment. It feels good to have others know you are on the right side of history.

    Posted by: Rees Cramer | Nov 1, 2013 9:57:22 AM

  8. Oh, boy, oh, joy. My state, Texas, is one of these "rogue states" refusing to comply with the DOD's orders. I've been waiting impatiently for someone like Hagel to take on these GOP-run state governments. I can't wait to see how Texas Rethuglicans react to the federal government's involvement in making this right!

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Nov 1, 2013 10:10:58 AM

  9. A good man.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Nov 1, 2013 10:37:04 AM

  10. Texas is such a disappointment. It's a wonderful state, but the leaders are a bunch of bigoted Republicans.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | Nov 1, 2013 10:39:02 AM

  11. Gosh, doesn't the speech just swell your heart with pride? Well done Hagel, well done. Any state that refuses should lose their own National Guard. Try living with that you bigots and see how far life takes you in a disaster.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Nov 1, 2013 11:31:12 AM

  12. Oh my.

    Posted by: Fox | Nov 1, 2013 11:44:58 AM

  13. This is excellent. I remember, when Chuck Hagel was nominated for Secretary of Defense, the controversy over whether his previous statements and actions meant he would not be a friend of gay service members. His actions as Secretary have shown him to be an effective and forceful advocate for equal and fair treatment of gay members.

    Posted by: john patrick | Nov 1, 2013 1:37:44 PM

  14. The one thing that they truly worship in those states is money. They should set a deadline and if they don't comply, bust the officers, and cut off the federal funding.

    Posted by: TomTallis | Nov 1, 2013 3:15:17 PM

  15. It is amazing that these states still have the mentality that God's laws trump Federal laws.
    The Supreme Court has long decided that :
    "state laws that conflict with federal law are without effect" Same go for those anti-sodomy laws which are still on the books but cannot be enforced.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 1, 2013 3:42:30 PM

  16. As ye olde saying goes, "Better late than never." But Hagel should have unequivocally ordered compliance before the DEERS enrollment process began, anticipating a variation on the footdragging some national guards did until the early 60s in regard to racial integration. Is their no institutional memory at the Pentagon. And, sadly, otherwise brilliant Rachel Maddow doesn’t know what the hell she’s about when she asserts that all is well for gay service members and their families EXCEPT in these states. For while one side of Hagel’s mouth was saying this, the other side was remaining silent on far more serious issues. Hagel is apparently doing nothing to see that civilian spouses of gay service members stationed overseas are given all the benefits their straight counterparts are or allowed to stay in whatever country just as straight spouses are. For instance, contrary to articles in military organ “Stars and Stripes” documenting that the governments of Japan and Korea have NO problem with admission of such gay military spouses, some American military commanders are claiming that the do. Further, and this affects ALL gay service members everywhere, not just those married, unlike the Coast Guard, the four military branches under Hagel’s command are still refusing to give gay service members the same protections against discrimination in such things as duty assignment, performance appraisals, and promotions that straight service members automatically get in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, etc.? That's only two-years overdue, and Hagel’s the second SECDEF to do nothing about it.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 1, 2013 3:44:16 PM

  17. Well, I thought we were going to get a positive posting from Mister Bedwell about the Obama Administration today--because of Secretary Hagel's forceful speech.

    I guess this is about as positive as Mister Bedwell is going to get for anything Obama.

    That's ok--you only have 3 years to go, Mister Bedwell...then you might be dealing with President Ted Cruz.

    Posted by: Derrick from Phillly | Nov 1, 2013 3:56:23 PM

  18. To Derrick From Philly:

    Or he could be dealing with President Hillary Clinton.

    Posted by: RonCharles | Nov 1, 2013 4:45:24 PM

  19. Bravo to Secretary Chuck Hagel! He understands how important it is to protect the rights of all those who serve our great country, and he is doing just that.

    Posted by: RonCharles | Nov 1, 2013 4:46:25 PM

  20. And I thought I could expect a fairer comment from someone whom I respect such as you, Derrick. These may be incovenient truths for you to read, but truth they are, and I would have thought such shooting of the messenger simply because you don't like the message was beneath you. Instead, you sadly try to paint me as the villain when I'm not the one treating gay and lesbian service members like second class citizens even after repeal. Someday I hope you can make a different choice: between turning a blind eye to the continued broken promises of a straight political hero that are not erased by whatever good he's done and demanding full equality for your own fellow gays. With apologies to Shakespeare, it is not that I love Obama less but that I love gay equality more.

    "The eradication of [Don't Ask, Don't Tell] will require more than just eliminating one statute. It will require the implementation of anti-harassment policies and protocols for dealing with abusive or discriminatory behavior as we transition our armed
    forces away from a policy of discrimination. The military must be our active partners in developing those policies and protocols. That work should have started long ago. It will start
    when I take office." - Candidate Barack Obama, November 29, 2007.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 1, 2013 6:48:40 PM

  21. Courts Martial for non-complying Adjutants General coming right up!

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Nov 3, 2013 7:26:27 AM

  22. " is not that I love Obama less but that I love gay equality more."

    I know that. And I did NOT paint you as a villain. Anybody who escorted Eartha Kitt to a Gay event in the 1970s could NOT be villain to me.

    I'm just a loyal Democrat, Mister Bedwell. From FDR to Obama--I am a loyal Democrat. I mean, on a national level. When it comes to George Wallace or Lester Maddox...well it's a differnt story.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 4, 2013 9:20:39 AM

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