Texas National Guard backs down and will now process benefits for same-sex families

Federal personnel will oversee paperwork of Texas National Guard troops and their same-sex spouses

Texas National Guard backs down and will now process benefits for same-sex families
30 November 2013

The Texas National Guard will no longer block same-sex spouses from using state facilities to have benefit paperwork processed.

Since September, state officials ignored a US Department of Defense directive to provide benefits to the families of gay military personnel.

Texas Military Forces commanders cited the state ban on gay marriage as the reason why applications for lesbian, gay, and/or bisexual troops could not be filed.

This week, the state reversed course.

‘We’re going to go back to business as usual. It will be full service,’ Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, a Texas Guard spokeswoman, told the San Antonio Express-News on 26 November, according to CBS News.

A statement issued by the Texas Guard explained only federal workers will manage the benefits docume of gay military personnel.

‘The new procedure essentially recognizes the conflict between the Texas Constitution and DOD policy mandating the enrollment of same-gender dependent spouses in benefits programs,’ the statement said, according to CBS.

Lambda Legal praised Texas for its new position. The gay rights organization represents Alicia Butler, the wife of First Lt. Judith Chedville. This past September the couple, who are married, attempted to apply for benefits at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Although Chedville is a member of the National Guard, having served in Iraq and Kuwait, the pair were told they would need to drive to a federal office, three hours away, to complete the application.

Lambda Legal sent a letter to commanding officer of the Texas Military Forces requesting the state adhere to Defense Department regulations

‘Texas Military Forces implements a host of federal benefits programs for all National Guard units in the state and it should be no different for married same-sex couples,’ Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo said in a statement.

The National Guard is a reserve military composed of units from each state. The majority of Guard troops have full-time civilian jobs while serving in the military part time.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Irish company refuses to print gay couple's wedding invites

'We have never hidden our faith from our customers and represent the gospel at every opportunity'
No thumbnail available

Orange Is The New Black meets The Golden Girls?

It happens, sort of, in brilliant new video mash-up Golden is The New Black
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage easily survives in New Hampshire

Lawmakers overwhelmingly reject proposed repeal
No thumbnail available

Will & Grace star Debra Messing: Viewers didn't realize at first that Will was gay

When show debuted in 1998, Messing says such cluelessness 'was considered a good thing for the show'
No thumbnail available

Pope Francis admits to ‘gay influence’ in Vatican

Leader of the Catholic Church says the highly secretive Roman Curia is part of the 'gay lobby', which was claimed to be responsible for the resignation of Benedict XVI
No thumbnail available

AP relents and says both gay and straight couples can be called 'husband' and 'wife'

Was under fire for using 'couples' or 'partners' to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages
No thumbnail available

Parliamentary survey supports gay marriage

After the Australian House of Representatives' inquiry into same-sex marriage, 58% support legalisation
No thumbnail available

Restaurant owner pays £20k to server he groped, called ‘faggot’

A Northern Ireland business owner allegedly attempted to sleep with a lesbian manager and referred to his LGBT staff as 'poofs'
No thumbnail available

'Nothing wrong' with taking anti-LGBT musical to schools, says Malaysian education minister

Deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi said a musical with negative stereotypes of LGBT people can help 'our children to understand it'
No thumbnail available

Writer CS Lewis expected same-sex marriage over 50 years ago

A letter by the author of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe shows he anticipated that gays and lesbians might seek to marry each other more than half a century ago – though he was opposed to the idea