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La. National Guard aligns with Texas, won’t process same-sex spousal benefits

La. National Guard aligns with Texas, won’t process same-sex spousal benefits

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana National Guard won’t process requests from same-sex couples seeking benefits, joining Texas in the refusal because of the states’ bans on gay marriage.

National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Kazmierzak said Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, the state’s adjutant general, issued the directive Wednesday.

Kazmierzak cited the state’s constitution.

“The state of Louisiana’s constitution does not recognize same sex marriage, nor does it allow a state official to take part in an act that recognizes same sex marriage,” he said.

Approved by lawmakers and voters in 2004, the state constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman and declares a legal status of marriage for any other couples “shall not be valid or recognized.”

Kazmierzak said the Louisiana National Guard isn’t denying same-sex benefits. He said guard personnel can seek to file benefit requests with eight federal military installations ar ound the state for processing.

He said he didn’t know if any guard employees had sought to file for the benefits in Louisiana so far.

Meanwhile, the Alabama National Guard said Wednesday it will follow the Pentagon policy and honor requests for military benefits for same-sex couples, even though they are not legally recognized under state law.

A Guard spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Shannon Hancock, said military attorneys and other leaders plan to abide by Defense Department policy, even though Texas is also refusing and Mississippi is setting conditions.

Tuesday was the first day to seek benefits under the rule.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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