Louisiana National Guard Will Extend Partner Benefits

Louisiana is the latest state to announce that members of its National Guard will extend benefits to its gay members' legal spouses.

BY Michelle Garcia

December 05 2013 3:23 PM ET

The Louisiana National Guard will amend its policies to allow service members with legally married same-sex partners to receive benefits as married couples.

Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak confirmed the policy change to the Washington Blade on Tuesday.

"Federal personnel will enroll all dependents of same-sex marriages, in benefits programs," he said. "This solution ensures that no Louisiana National Guard personnel will be asked to violate the Louisiana Constitution.”

Louisiana was one of many states that declared it could not extend benefits to same-sex spouses of National Guard members because of statewide bans on marriage equality. However, after an inquiry through the Department of Defense to those states about how the individual National Guard organizations could issue such benefits after the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June, Louisiana announced it would will follow the same procedure as Texas.

In late November, Texas Military Forces said members who are married to someone of the same gender can have their paperwork processed by federal workers, instead of state employees. That way, the National Guard would not violate state law.

"State officials will still follow the state constitution as we always have," Kazmierzak said to the Associated Press. "We have worked with the Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau to help them come up with a federal solution to their federal program."
 

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