Georgia Nat'l Guard won't recognize same-sex spouses, issue ID cards

Continues to defy Pentagon

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 4, 2013 

Georgia, along with eight other states, is refusing a Pentagon directive by withholding National Guard ID cards that would enable same-sex spouses of military members to claim health care and other benefits.

Nine states are defying the policy: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. According to the AP, the Pentagon said there are 114 Army and Air National Guard sites that are not providing ID cards.

On Oct. 31, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke about the defiance. "This is wrong," he said.

Pentagon policy was changed on Sept. 3, following the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. That policy change means same-sex spouses of military members are eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits as those of opposite-sex spouses.

Hagel has ordered Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, to "remedy" the situation immediately. Grass is expected to meet with the adjutants general of the nine states, who all work for their respective governors.

Georgia's Department of Defense issued a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Friday after Hagel's remarks: “The State of Georgia does not recognize same sex marriages and is not authorizing the Georgia National Guard to process the applications for same-sex married benefits at state facilities. Any personnel seeking to apply for same-sex married benefits will be referred to federal facilities.”

Related stories:

Hagel blasts states on same-sex benefits policy

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