December 3, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Louisiana Nat’l Guard latest to process same-sex benefits

United States Marines, gay news, Washington Blade

The Louisiana National Guard has announced it’ll become the latest state to process same-sex benefits (Public domain photo by Charlie Chavez).

The Louisiana National Guard indicated late Tuesday that it’ll become the latest state to comply with a Defense Department directive to process spousal benefit applications for troops in same-sex marriages.

Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak, a spokesperson for the National Guard, told the Washington Blade about the new policy in response to an inquiry about whether the state will comply with the edict from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to process same-sex benefits.

“The U.S. Property and Fiscal Officer in Louisiana is delegated the authority to manage a program to process same-sex spouse benefits within the state,” Kazmierzak said. “Federal personnel will enroll all dependants of same-sex marriages, in benefits programs. This solution ensures that no Louisiana National Guard Personnel will be asked to violate the Louisiana Constitution.”

Kazmierzak later clarified the policy change means Louisiana will follow the same plan as Texas, which last week announced it has come to an agreement with the Pentagon to process same-sex benefits. The Texas plan involves enrolling the spouses of gay troops into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System through federal dollars and resources – even at state-run installations.

Louisiana was prior to its announcement one of three states that had yet to comply with a Pentagon directive to provide spousal benefit applications to gay troops in the wake of the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act. With Louisiana in compliance, the remaining states are Georgia and Mississippi.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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