Fallin Halts Soldier Benefits For Same-Sex Couples - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Fallin Halts Soldier Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples.

Because of that prohibition, Weintz says the governor's legal staff advised the Oklahoma National Guard not to process requests for benefits from gay couples.

Weintz says same-sex couples that have been legally married in other states still can apply for those benefits at a federal facility, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than a state-operated facility.

Weintz released the following statement:

"In 2004, Oklahomans voted to amend the state constitution to define marriage to be between a man and a woman. That measure, which passed with 75% support from Oklahoma voters, also specifically prohibited giving benefits of marriage to people who are not married. It is therefore prohibited by the Oklahoma Constitution for National Guardsmen, or other state employees or entities, to process benefits for gay couples.

Because of that prohibition, Governor Fallin's general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same sex couples. Gay couples that have been legally married in other states will be advised they can apply for those benefits on federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than state run facilities."

Cimarron Alliance also released an announcement in opposition to Gov. Fallin's order,

"Cimarron Alliance, central Oklahoma's leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has denounced Governor Mary Fallin's order that the Oklahoma National Guard stop processing benefits for same-gender military personnel.

According to Scott J. Hamilton, executive director of the group, this is just one more example of telling LGBT Oklahomans that they are not welcome in this state.

"This is disturbing on many levels. The order serves to slap in the face the very women and men who sacrifice themselves for liberty and justice for all people. We see this as mean-spirited and it poses a hardship for many families in Oklahoma," Hamilton said.

He also questions whether or not Gov. Fallin recognizes how this type of action further erodes America's collective perception of Oklahoma.

"This stands to not only impact those serving in the Oklahoma National Guard, but ultimately the future of all Oklahomans. Major employers will see this behavior as hostile and will begin to think twice before relocating to Oklahoma," Hamilton said.

He concluded by encouraging the Governor to change her position. "It is not too late for Gov. Fallin to reverse this needless, harmful order. We only hope that she does so sooner rather than later."'

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