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DOD and Texas National Guard resolve same-sex benefits dispute

Sometimes, state and federal rules conflict. One issue that such conflicts have recently come up in connection to is the issue of spousal benefits for same-sex couples. How disputes arising in relation to such conflicts are ultimately resolved can have major effects on same-sex couples

Recently, such a dispute was resolved in Texas. The dispute was between the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Following the striking down of portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Defense issued orders that spousal benefits be made available to same-sex partners of members of the military.

However, after these orders were issued, the Texas National Guard refused to register same-sex partners of Guard members for benefits. The Texas National Guard cited the Texas law banning same-sex marriage as the reason for this refusal.

Recently, an arrangement was reached by the Texas National Guard and the Department of Defense ending this dispute. According to the Texas National Guard, under the arrangement, benefits registration for same-sex partners of members of the Texas National Guard will be allowed, but the registration will be handled under a new procedure and will be processed solely by federal personnel.

Some questions arise in relation to this arrangement. Is this resolution a fair one for same-sex couples? Will the new procedure for spousal benefits registrations pose any difficulties for same-sex couples?

What do you think of the arrangement the Texas National Guard and the Department of Defense reached?

Source: CBS News, "Texas Nat'l Guard to provide same-sex benefits, after all," Nov. 27, 2013

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