Texas National Guard still withholding benefits for same-sex spouses

DoD okays military uniforms for active servicemembers at San Diego PrideBY CHRIS JOHNSON
Washington Blade

Amid celebration for many gay service members on the day that the Pentagon begins to award same-sex spousal benefits, the Texas Military Forces is withholding such benefits for gay troops on the basis that state law prohibits same-sex marriage. 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.

“The Department of Defense no longer discriminates against same-sex military families and instead embraces them as an important part of the support structure for uniformed members,” Jeremy Johnson, co-chair of the newly formed LGBT military group SPART*A, said. “This announcement by Texas Military Forces makes clear that that they are either unwilling or incapable of doing the same. If that is the case, the Department of Defense must ensure that there is no question about the rights of same-sex military families and their ability to access the benefits to which they are entitled.

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