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Oklahoma governor orders National Guard to stop equal treatment of gay service members and spouses

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the state National Guard to stop processing benefits applications from the spouses of gay and lesbian servicemembers, according to the American Military Partner Association.

After processing applications on Sept. 3, as directed by the Defense Department, the Oklahoma National Guard is now not processing applications. That's also the case in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, where governors say state prohibitions against same-sex marriage trump a Pentagon order driven by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples.

"Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin's general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples," Weintz said. "Gay couples that have been legally married in other states will be advised they can apply for those benefits on federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than state run facilities."

Fallin ordered the policy change on Sept. 5, Weintz said.

American Military Partner Association president Stephen Peters said, "Since the governor of Oklahoma has decided to join Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana in playing politics with our military families, we need immediate and decisive action from the Administration and the Defense Department in affirming that all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, will be treated equally. Our military families should not be left vulnerable to the prejudice of state governors, and the Defense Department must use it's control of federal funds to stop this discrimination."

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