National Guard Must Recognize Same Sex Spouses of Veterans

Equal Rights For Veterans

Target: Texas, Mississippi National Guard

Goal: Condemn Texas and Mississippi National Guard for turning down veteran benefit applications for same sex couples.

The Pentagon has announced a memorandum to require the military to treat all marriages equally in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a key component of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Under this ruling, the federal government is required to give legally married same sex couples equal federal tax, health, social security, and other benefits that heterosexual spouses are entitled to.

However, the Texas and Mississippi National Guard continues to turn away benefit applications for same sex military spouses. Despite public outcry, they defended their position by citing that state law only recognizes marriage as between a woman and a man and that their facility is located on state property. Therefore they had to abide by state law by not recognizing their marriage as legally valid. Governor Rick Perry harped the same argument in support of the Texas National Guard’s position. Alicia Butler was turned away from the Texas Military Forces headquarters. She had legally married an Iraq veteran in California in 2009 and had obtained a marriage license. She was forced to travel 90 miles away to a federal military installment at Fort Hood just to turn in her application. Their defense is untenable because many other states’ national guards that haven’t legalized gay marriage like Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma, have accepted same sex benefit applicants when presented with a valid marriage license or certificate without complaint. This kind of petty and veiled form of discrimination needs to stop.

Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have also announced that they will no longer enforce a federal law called Title 38, which denies same sex spouses from receiving veteran benefits. It is deplorable that Texas and Mississippi continues to play politics with same sex couples who have served their country. Veteran benefits distribution is already facing logjams. There is no need to impose additional roadblocks that might impede our veterans from receiving what is rightfully theirs. Sign this petition to demand the Texas and Mississippi National Guard to fall in line with the rest of the country.

Dear Members of the Texas and Mississippi National Guard,

It is insulting to the military to treat veteran same sex couples like second class citizens. Many states that haven’t legalized gay marriage, have followed the federal mandate by receiving these applicants. There is no point in barring same sex couples from receiving veteran benefits because of a petty loophole that you have created. Please reconsider your position and do what is right by accepting these applicants. There is no reason to impose additional hardships on our veterans.


[Your Name Here]

Image Credit: jglsongs via Flickr

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