Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday ordered all state National Guards to grant same-sex couples full benefits after nine states have refused to do so.
In a speech at the Anti-Defamation League in New York Thursday, Hagel said that he was directing the state Guards to issue same-sex couples ID cards and the benefits that come with them. He asked National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass to meet with the Guard state leaders in the nine states in order to resolve the issue.
“Not only does this violate the states’ obligations under federal law, 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,” Hagel said, according to prepared remarks of his speech.
The dispute over military ID cards was sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
In response to the ruling, the Pentagon issued a directive saying it would offer full benefits to same-sex couples.
But nine state National Guards, beginning with Texas, said they would not offer ID cards to same-sex couples, arguing that doing so conflicted with their state laws banning same-sex marriage.