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Four states refuse military benefits for married same-sex couples

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Four states are now blocking military benefits for same-sex married couples, even after a directive from the federal government to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Section 3 of DOMA in United States v. Windsor. The Obama administration also recently decided it will no longer enforce statutes defining marriage as opposite-sex only for purposes of military veterans’ benefits.

Oklahoma is now the fourth state to order their National Guard to deny benefits. According to reports, though, Oklahoma’s situation is different:

But unlike the three other states refusing to process military gay marriage benefit requests through their National Guard agencies, the governor’s seems to override a previous decision by the state’s National Guard to go ahead and process requests from legally-married same-sex couples, just like any other married couple. According to the Associated Press, the Oklahoma National Guard has already helped two same-sex military couples apply for federal benefits. Earlier this summer, in fact, the state’s National Guard indicated that they intended to follow federal law on benefits applications. But based on Fallin’s new directive, any other couples seeking those benefits will have to go to a federal facility in the state in order to apply, instead of through the state’s National Guard. The example given by the Governor’s office: Tinker Air Force Base.

A federal facility would have to process the benefits.

Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana initially declined even to offer benefits in the first place. All four states ban same-sex marriage, and some ban even recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.


  • 1. bz  |  September 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

    It may hinge on whether these states have been consistent in their application of this policy prior to the directive from the DOD. In other words, have these states ever refused to honor federal benefits that conflict with state law, like first cousins marrying etc. Just a question for the lawyers here.

  • 2. Secretary of Defense Chuc&hellip  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:21 am

    […] of Defense sealAwhile ago, EqualityOnTrial noted reports that several states were denying military benefits to same-sex couples after the Supreme […]

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