Texas Ignores Pentagon Order, Denies Spousal Benefits For LGBT Troops
Texas Military Forces has today given a big middle finger to its LGBT troops and the Pentagon by defying orders and refusing to provide spousal benefits for same-sex military couples. The benefits, announced on August 13 and scheduled to roll out today, include military IDs, health, pension, housing and more.
Alicia Butler, an Austin, Texas, attorney, said she was rejected when she tried to register with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, the military’s health benefits system, when she applied on Tuesday at Camp Mabry, where her spouse, Judith Chedville, a nurse and Iraq war veteran, is stationed as a member of the National Guard.
“We were told that Texas would not register us into the system and would not issue an ID card for me,” Butler said. “We were told that if she was active duty they would do that for me, but not for a National Guard member because she’s part of the Texas National Guard.”
Instead of obeying orders, TXMF is telling its LGBT troops to seek out the benefits from federal facilities instead and blames the state's decision to disobey on the state's ban on marriage equality.
“The TXMF is a state agency under the authority and direction of the Texas state government,” the anti-gay advisory begins. “Therefore, the TXMF must consider that the Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code 6.204 conflicts with the DoD policy extending benefits to same-sex spouses. Due to this potential conflict, we are unable to enroll same-sex families into DEERs at our state supported facilities until we receive legal clarification.”