It should not be surprising that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is busy praising Major General John Nichols for disobeying a direct order from the Pentagon and risking millions of dollars that go to his National Guard units just because he doesn’t like same-sex marriage.
Perkins stated that “Major General John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, made it clear that the state’s marriage law came first. If Guardsmen want to take advantage of the Pentagon’s directive, Nichols said they’d have to enroll at a federal installation. In a letter to local service members, he stood his ground on the Texas Constitution, which only recognizes man-woman marriage. If only every state leader had that kind of backbone! According to the Associated Press, officials in 13 other natural marriage states — including Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan, and Georgia — said they’ll turn their back on state law and embrace the new policy. Discourage your leaders from joining them! Contact your Governors and ask them to resist the Obama administration’s latest attack on federalism.”
Except it does not. It was made clear during the debate over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that by disobeying a directive from the Defense Department there will be dire consequences. Back then, Virginia threatened to enact their own Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for their National Guard units only to be informed that, if they did so, they would soon find themselves without the millions that they get from the Federal Government.
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office claims that, as a state agency, the Texas National Guard units are forbidden from following federal law. Which shows that Perry’s office knows about as much about the US Constitution as a gnat.
On the other hand, should that happen, then the money can be redirected towards the rest of the military and the impact of sequestration would be alleviated.
Mississippi joined Texas in refusing to process requests from married same-sex couples associated with the military. They also cited their ban on same-sex marriage.
Officials from thirteen other states, realizing that they could be in trouble for not following the Pentagon’s orders, announced that they will follow federal law and process any requests made to their offices.
Mississippi National Guard Spokesman Tim Powell, though, noted that things were a bit different with them. He noted that only the National Guard offices on federally owned property would be accepting the applications. He stated that “It is our intent to provide benefits and services to our men and women in uniform and at the same time abide by federal and state statutes.”
Stephen Peters of the American Military Partner Association stated that “It’s truly outrageous that the State of Texas has decided to play politics with our military families. Our military families are already dealing with enough problems and the last thing they need is more discrimination from the state of Texas.”
Florida’s Department of Military Affairs spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Evans stated that he was unaware of there being any policies which would prohibit accepting and processing benefit requests.
Oklahoma National Guard Spokesman Colonel Max Moss said that “As long as the soldier presents that marriage certificate or license, then we would treat that claim just like we would any other soldier that brings in a marriage license or certificate.”