Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin (R) has ordered the National Guard in her state to stop processing applications for spousal benefits of any kind at all state-owned facilities. The move is an attempt to deny benefits to same-sex spouses of Oklahoma National Guard members. Fallin believes that by denying ALL spousal benefits (gay and straight) and therefore making the treatment of gay and straight couples the same, that her state will be in compliance with federal regulations on marriage equality.
Fallin claims she cannot allow Oklahoma to extend benefits to same-sex couples, since the Oklahoma constitution specifically prohibits any recognition of gay marriage.
Fallin's move appears to violate Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's directive to process the applications of all National Guard spouses, regardless of sex. It is unclear how the defense department will react to Oklahoma's decision. About 90% of the budget of the Oklahoma National Guard is funded by the US federal government."The state of Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor does it confer marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision reached today allows the National Guard to obey Oklahoma law without violating federal rules or policies. It protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people."
Fallin does not appear concerned that her attempt to hurt gays by hurting everyone will prove unpopular. She seems confident that anti-gay bigotry is prominent enough in her state that straight people will be willing to take some hits for team homophobia.
"The governor is sending the message that Oklahoma desires to be an island of prejudice and continues to uphold laws crafted out of fear and drafted by bigots and hypocrites. Once again she has insulted our citizen soldiers who daily stand in harm's way for the people of Oklahoma."
- Toby Jenkins, director of Oklahomans for Equality