Over the past few months, we've reported on a number of southern states, including Texas, that are openly defying Pentagon orders granting certain spousal benefits to same-sex military couples. Now, it appears the Lone Star State is taking its anti-gay crusade a step further by refusing to process military housing allowances for gay couples as well. The Washington Post reports:
The Texas Military Force, which includes the state's guard forces, acknowledged on Monday that it was requiring all same-sex couples wanting to apply for a housing allowance at a "with dependent" rate must do so at a federal installation.
The American Military Partner Association, which represents gay military spouses, said the Texas National Guard has already turned away at least one couple that applied for the benefit at a state facility.
The group said the affected service member had chosen to remain anonymous with the public due to concerns about retaliation affecting her career and because of a "clear absence of protection under the Department of Defense or Texas Military Forces non-discrimination policy."
"By refusing to treat same-gender military couples equally, the Texas Military Forces, under the leadership of Gov. Rick Perry, is creating a hostile climate of discrimination and has sent a strong message that Department of Defense policies and direct orders by the secretary of defense will not be followed," said AMPA president Stephen Peters.
In a half-assed response, the Texas National Guard on Monday claimed that it wasn't actually denying benefits to same-sex couples, despite its requirement that gays must apply for the housing rate at separate federal installations.
"We want every gay National Guard member entitled to benefits to obtain those benefits," said Texas Military Forces spokeswoman Laura Lopez. "We are not denying any benefits for people who are entitled to them, to include housing."
Lopez added that gay couples who have been approved for the "with dependent" housing allowances will "absolutely get that rate."