All U.S. states granting military IDs to same-sex spouses: Hagel

Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:35pm EST

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to reporters at the Al Udeid Airbase, west of Doha December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Wilson/Pool

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to reporters at the Al Udeid Airbase, west of Doha December 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Wilson/Pool

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(Reuters) - All U.S. states are now issuing military identification cards to the same-sex spouses of National Guard members, allowing them to obtain benefits available to married couples, the Defense Department said on Friday.

Mississippi was the last state to comply with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's directive this fall for state military units to provide the cards to gay and lesbian spouses so they can claim benefits just like opposite-sex spouses.

"All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country," Hagel said on Friday. "They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law."

Obtaining a military ID card allows spouses to use military commissaries and to be included on health insurance plans offered by the National Guard.

Hagel in October criticized nine states that he said had refused to comply with his directive. Several Republican-led states responded by accusing the Obama administration of using the military to force social change.

The nine states have chosen different ways to comply with both Hagel's directive and state prohibitions against same-sex marriage.

In Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, workers who issue ID cards to same-sex spouses will be put on temporary active duty, giving them federal status.

Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina relocated card machines to federal installations in those states, while Indiana and West Virginia will process the cards at all National Guard locations in those states, according to the Defense Department.

The department began issuing ID cards to ensure same-sex spouses received the benefits to which they were entitled after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26.

Gays and lesbians have been allowed to serve openly in the military since the Pentagon dropped its "don't ask, don't tell" policy in September 2011.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone and John Wallace)

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Comments (4)
hawkeye19 wrote:
Hagel is an amoral tool of Obama. He has no shame.

Dec 13, 2013 3:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
It’s hilarious how quickly republicans like hawkeye19 turn on one of their own, like Hagel, the second they stray outside of party dogma or work in cooperation with democrats…

Not to mention how quickly they abandon their “Support the troops!” motto if a soldier turns out to be gay…

Oh yeah, and the hypocrisy of “freedom ‘n liberty” (except for gays) and “the US military is the strongest fighting force the world has ever known!” (that will be brought to its knees if gays are treated as equals)…

Dec 13, 2013 4:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ready2013 wrote:
USofRationalilty…your amazingly …well I better not say it.
people shouldn’t agree with other views because they are associated with the same group. people associate with specific groups, parties, special interest groups etc. but that doesn’t mean they have (or should) agree with all the opinions of everyone in that group. Hawkeye19 should be applauded for his independent thinking. I am scared that individuals will follow a leader to hell…sorta like some did with Hitler.

Dec 17, 2013 7:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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