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.