The National Guard in the US state of Texas has said it will immediately begin to let same-sex couples  register for benefits.

According to the San Antonia Express-News, a new procedure has been agreed on which will allow people to enrol members of the National Guard and their dependants for benefits.

The decision came late on Tuesday.

The Associated Press previously obtained a letter from Major General John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, saying that because of the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, his agency would not process applications from gay and lesbian couples.

They had declined to carry out the directive from the Pentagon to allow all couples, straight or gay, equal benefits.

All Texas National Guard units will immediately process applications from same-sex couples.

Along with Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi had also previously refused to process the applications. The refusals did not block same-sex couples from receiving benefits entirely, as they were still able to apply at federal bases, however they were seen as a preview of a bigger battle over benefits possibly still to come.