Pentagon: All national guards offering benefits to same-sex spouses

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Dec. 13 announced that all states would comply with Pentagon policy and offer equal benefits to married couples.

The announcement followed weeks of dispute involving national guard programs in some states where constitutional amendments have been passed that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana and other states, guard officials and state leaders had announced earlier this fall that they would be denying same-sex couples benefits in defiance of the Pentagon policy and the Supreme Court decision overturning the federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.

Hagel, in a statement released from the White House, said following consultations between the National Guard Bureau and the adjutants general of the states, all eligible service members, dependents and retirees — including same-sex spouses — are now able to obtain ID cards in every state.

The secretary added, "All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country. They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law.  All of DoD is committed to pursuing equal opportunities for all who serve this nation, and I will continue to work to ensure our men and women in uniform as well as their families have full and equal access to the benefits they deserve."