By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com November 01 2013 3:27 PM ET
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that nine state National Guards are "wrong" for not allowing service members to receive military ID cards for their same-sex spouses.
"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," he said during a speech for the Anti-Defamation League's centennial dinner on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. He added that he has ordered National Guard Bureau head, Gen. Frank Grass, to look into the matter.
While most states are adhering to the months-old federal policy to issue military identification cards to all spouses, these states are holding out. The cards open up benefits to families and couples including health care, and housing access.
Currently, the states that deny military IDs to the same-sex spouses of National Guard members are Florida, Georgia, Indiana, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina. Those states host a combined 114 Army and Air National Guard stations.
The Bilerico Project points out that there is some question over whether Indiana is really pushing back or just taking longer to comply due to outstanding questions. But the rest of those states have cited standing bans on marriage equality as the basis for denying gay and lesbian National Guard couples the same rights.