The Texas National Guard known as the Texas Military Force may be in for some trouble with their refusal to process requests for marriage benefits submitted by same-sex couples.
They are the only state to refuse to do this, and they are citing the state constitution’s definition of marriage as their reason.
Major General John Nichols, the commanding general of the Texas Military Force, claims that the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage prevents his state agency from processing application benefits for married same-sex couples.
The problem for the Texas Military Force is the same one that faced Virginia when it talked about passing a version of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to cover the Virginia National Guard. Back then, it was noted that National Guard forces are not fully state entities and must comply with national military regulations or find their federal funding withdrawn.
Nichols wrote in a memo that:
The TXMF is a state agency under the authority and direction of the Texas state government. 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. However, the TXMF remains committed to ensuring its military personnel and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled. As such, we courage [sic] anyone affected by this issue to enroll for benefits at a federal installation.
In declaring this, Nichols and the Texas Military Force not only discriminate against their own soldiers, but create greater hardships for them as it could take them a lot of travel time to file the paperwork they need to at a federal installation.