U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last night that he's ordering the chief of the National Guard to "take immediate action" to rein in rogue state National Guard branches that have defied Pentagon orders and refused to provide benefits to same-sex military spouses.
In a speech delivered to the Anti-Defamation League in New York, Hagel noted that this summer, after the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Defense quickly moved to update its policies so that all military spouses received equal treatment and equal benefits, regardless of sexual orientation. These benefits include Department of Defense ID cards.
"We did [this] because everyone who serves our country in uniform, everyone in this country, should receive all the benefits they deserve, and they've earned, and in accordance with the law," Secretary Hagel said. "Everyone's rights must be protected."
He continued: "But several states today are refusing to issue these IDs to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities. Not only does this violate the states' obligations under federal law, but 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. This is wrong. It causes division among our ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish..."