US: Louisiana National Guard follows Texas in allowing same-sex couples to register for benefits
The Louisiana National Guard has followed Texas in saying that it will immediately allow same-sex couples register for benefits.
The National Guard in the state announced on Tuesday that it was to allow the benefits. The National Guard in Texas last week announced the same. Both states will now be in compliance with a Defense Department directive to allow benefits to same-sex couples.
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 and Louisiana, Oklahoma, 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