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Texas, Mississippi Guard offices limit gay benefits processing

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas National Guard refused to process requests from same-sex couples for benefits on Tuesday despite a Pentagon directive while Mississippi won't issue applications from state-owned offices.

Both states cited their respective bans on gay marriage.

Tuesday was the first working day that gays in the military could apply for benefits after the Pentagon announced it would recognize same-sex marriages. The Department of Defense had announced after the U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out parts of the Defense of Marriage Act that it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal.

Texas and Mississippi appeared to be the only two states limiting how and where same-sex spouses of National Guard members could register for identification cards and benefits, according to an Associated Press tally. Officials in 13 other states that also ban gay marriage — including Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma — said Tuesday that they will follow federal law and process all couples applying for benefits the same.

Pentagon officials said Texas appeared to be the only state with a total ban on processing applications from gay and lesbian couples. Spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said federal officials will process all applications from same-sex couples with a marriage certificate from a state where it is legal.

Texas, Mississippi Guard offices limit gay benefits processing 09/03/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:44am]
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