Well, this is definitely something to be thankful for. Maybe some of you have heard about the blatant discrimination several states have been participating in as it relates to the treatment of our brave men and women in our military. Some states, in defiance of Pentagon orders, weren’t registering same-sex couples for marriage benefits on military bases operated by the state. Instead, they were requiring them to travel to federally operated bases if they wished to obtain their benefits.
In a win for equal rights, it’s been announced that Texas, in an agreement with the Pentagon, will cease discriminating against members of the Texas National Guard who are involved in same-sex marriages.
Texas had claimed that since the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, it wasn’t required to register gay couples for the military benefits they were rightfully owed.
Their defense for this was that they weren’t preventing gay members of our military from receiving benefits, they were just requiring them to travel to federally operated bases to do so.
This “defense” was pathetic, as this often required members of our military to travel great distances to register for benefits they could have easily done only a few miles away.
Thankfully a deal has been reached, and this blatant attempt by Texas to discriminate against gay members of our military is now just a thing of the past. Well, at least in this instance. “Gay rights” and “Texas” are still two words that don’t go together. But at least for members of the Texas National Guard, this agreement means they’ll no longer have to make the unnecessary trips to federal bases because state-run bases were refusing to register benefits for same-sex couples.
Stephen Peters, president of the gay rights group American Military Partner Association, said:
“All military spouses, regardless of orientation or gender, deserve to be treated with the same dignity, respect and support for their sacrifices in support of our nation, no matter what state they serve in. We urge the remaining states who have not yet complied with the Department of Defense policy to do so quickly.”
The states of which he speaks are Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. I know, you’re shocked.
But at least this agreement is one step closer to gay members of our military reaching true equality among the ranks of the armed forces. While there’s still plenty of work to be done since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — as more time goes on, greater strides are being made.
It’s absolutely deplorable for anyone to judge someone who volunteers to risk their life to defend this country because they don’t agree with their sexual orientation.
And as despicable as the State of Texas still remains as it relates to gay rights, this agreement is at least a small step in the right direction for the LGBT community living in Texas to be given the equal rights they deserve.