September 3rd marked the first day that members of the military who are in same-sex marriages were allowed to file for the same benefits that opposite-sex married couples could. Some of these benefits involve hardship pay when a soldier is called to duty overseas, use of various facilities on a military installation, medical, and dental benefits (to name a few).
The order was passed down from the pentagon last month. While Texas National guard soldiers are legally allowed and deserving of these benefits, Major General John Nichols, who is the commander of the Texas Military Forces, has defied the Pentagon and is refusing to allow members of State Militias (such as the National Guard) the ability to file at their local posts. His reasoning is that Texas has a ban on same-sex marriages. He has said that he will not stop these members from going to a federal military post, such as Fort Hood.
Governor Rick Perry has defended this decision for the same reason.
We believe that this action by the highest military official in our state and by our governor are contrary to the spirit and values of Texas and of our country. This causes some couples to have to travel hours away from their own cities in order to file for something that is their legal right to file when they should not have to. This seems like a last ditch effort of Perry and Nichols to ensure that Texans know that they don’t want equality in Texas, an opinion that is fast shrinking throughout the citizenry of our sate.
We need you to help send a clear message to our governor and to the Major General that this discrimination is not welcome in our state. Please sign and share the petition demanding that they allow our soldiers access to the benefits that they deserve!