Friday, November 1, 2013

Hagel pushes states on military benefits for same-sex couples

US NEWS USBRITAIN 4 ABADefense Secretary Chuck Hagel is dispatching the head of the National Guard to states that have refused to allow same-sex couples serving in the armed forces to apply for military benefits.
Hagel criticized the states are defying Pentagon policy that took effect Sept. 3 by preventing their National Guard units from issuing ID cards necessary to claim the benefits.
"Not only does this violate the states' obligations under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they're entitled to," Hagel said Thursday evening in an address to the Anti-Defamation League in New York.
"This is wrong," Hagel said. "It causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which (the Department of Defense) has fought to extinguish."
Hagel said he was dispatching Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, to meet with the adjutants general who run the National Guard outfits in the wayward states.
The Pentagon's move to provide the same benefits to all spouses of military personnel and of some Defense Department civilian employees follows the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling that a ban on gay marriage in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

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