The same sex spouse of an Iraq war veteran was denied base access to where her wife was serving in the Texas National Guard. Texas Military Forces, which presides over the state National Guard stated it won’t process applications for benefits for same-sex spouses since the state of Texas does not recognize those unions. The United States Department of Defense began offering benefits to same-sex couples on September 3 of this year. A spokesperson for the state’s military services claimed same-sex spouses may receive benefits but they must register at a federal military base.
The couple recently had a child and the nearest federal installation is seventy miles away. The woman is currently caring for the infant and she would have to take her in the car for several hours or be forced to take time off of work. The issue is not regarding federal benefits since the civilian spouse’s job provides health insurance. The bigger question is what will happen to the veteran’s family if her spouse is called away to serve in a national disaster. Although she expects to receive benefits shortly, the couple’s main concern is the state’s refusal to recognize their union.
In neighboring state Oklahoma, a spokesman for the National Guard stated applications for base access would be processed in like manner for same-sex couples. There are other states which have balked and refused to accept applications for benefits, actions some say are illegal. Since the National Guard can be called up by either the president or the governor, the state of Texas has come under scrutiny for justifying placing a state regulation over federal.
The Department of Defense has recently enacted legislation to enable service members to take up to ten days leave in case they have to travel to get married. It also indicated last week that it will be extending veterans benefits to same-sex couples. In the meantime, the young mother has filed a complaint with the Army Office of the Inspector General. Ironically, a base identification would not identify the gender of the spouse.
People should be free to love and marry anyone they choose. In this country, freedom of choice is still a right guaranteed by the Constitution. If you or anyone you know feel this right is not properly enforced, it is in your best interest to consult with a family law professional, in order to protect your your constitutional freedoms.
dallasvoice.com, “TX National Guard snubs gay spouses” David Taffett, Sep. 06, 2013