Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had stern words Thursday for states defying Pentagon policy by refusing to issue ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities.
“This is wrong,” he told a gathering at the Anti-Defamation League centennial dinner in New York.
Nine states are currently running afoul of Pentagon policy by refusing to issue same-sex spouse IDs at National Guard posts: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, the Associated Press reports. The policy forces couples to travel to federal facilities to obtain the IDs, which are needed to get the benefits to which military couples, including same-sex couples, are now entitled to under law. The Department of Defense lifted its ban on gays serving openly in the military in September 2011, and the Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law denying federal benefits to same-sex couples last year.
“Not only does this violate the states’ obligation 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.