As noted before, all but three states - Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana - intend to comply with the Pentagon policy of treating legally married same sex couples no differently than married heterosexual couples. Even Virginia intends to comply with Pentagon policy - much to the chagrin of gay haters like Del. Bob Marshall - perhaps for a simple reason: Most of the state National Guards' budgets comes from the Pentagon. Some readers have said the states can do as they wish because they fund their respective National Guards. Such is not the case and one can hope that the Pentagon will send Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana a message they will understand by holding back funding. The Charlotte Observer looks at the issue and notes that 90% of Virginia's funding for the Virginia National Guard comes from the federal government. Here are story highlights:
The three states that have defied a Pentagon order to allow all active-duty military personnel to apply for same-sex spousal benefits are – so far – going it alone.
Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are the only states to decline to process applications for such benefits at state-run National Guard facilities, citing state laws and constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage.
More than a dozen states with similar laws have elected to follow the Pentagon’s policy, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Idaho and Alaska. “It is not in conflict with our state constitution or state laws,” said Lt. Bernie Kale, a spokesman for the Alaska National Guard.
“The military is not telling any state what the state has to do,” said Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a gay rights group. “It’s saying for federal purposes, couples who are married should be treated as what they are: married.”
According to Col. Timothy Marsano, a spokesman for the Idaho National Guard, married same-sex couples will be treated no differently from any others. “It’s going to be no problem for someone who’s legally married in another state to come to us and apply for benefits,” he said. “We’re not going to send them packing.”
For their part, the Pentagon and the National Guard Bureau have clarified that active-duty personnel in those three states may apply for same-sex spousal benefits at any federal base or installation. “All federal military installations will issue IDs to all those who provide a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage,” said Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Department of Defense.
Every state and territory receives federal funding to support its national guard. In some states, that constitutes most of the guard’s money. Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell noted last week that his state receives 90 percent of its National Guard funding from the federal government, and though Virginia bans gay marriage, he said the state – home to the Pentagon and several military bases – would comply with the policy.
Again, the Pentagon needs to simply tell Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana that they have a choice: either comply with the policy or plan on funding 100% of their own operations. I suspect that overnight they'd have a miraculous epiphany.