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Texas Military Forces asks for Abbott’s opinion on same-sex benefits

Like we don’t know what he’s going to say.

Still not Greg Abbott

Here’s the dilemma: The Department of Defense, based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, has ordered certain benefits be extended to same-sex, legally married couples in the military.

But the Texas Military Forces — aka TXFM and the Texas national guard — is a state agency and the Texas Constitution has a provision that same-sex marriages cannot be recognized.

So the adjutant general’s office has asked the attorney general to help sort out whether this is a military chain-of-command order, or is a state office obligated to follow Texas law?

“Texas law specifically prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from recognizing or validating a same-sex marriage,” the request for a legal opinion states. But the national guard personnel are under state control only until they are called up for active duty, and then they answer to the federal government.

“What action, if any, can the TXMF take in order to fulfill the DoD policy of extending spousal and dependant benefits to same-sex spouses without violating the Texas Constitution or Texas state law?” the request for opinion asks.

I’m trying to think of some analogous questions to asking Greg Abbott if the state of Texas needs to follow federal directives on same-sex benefits for military personnel. “Should I rob this bank? I don’t know, so I’ll go ask Willie Sutton for his opinion.”

Or how about “Should I punch this guy in the face? I don’t know, so I’ll go ask Mark Trail for his opinion.”

Maybe “Should I do unspeakable things to this foam finger? I don’t know, so I’ll go ask Miley Cyrus for her opinion.”

Basically, the difference between those examples and asking Greg Abbott if you have to comply with an order to treat same-sex couples equally is how long you have to wait to get the answer you know you’re going to get. If you’re one of the people that stands to be adversely affected by Abbott’s opinion, the Atlantic Wire has a map pointing out the federal military bases in Texas, so at least you’ll know how far you’ll have to travel to claim the benefits that are rightfully and legally yours. A group of Texas legislators – all Democrats, I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear – sent a letter to TXMF urging them to forget about asking Abbott for his predictable opinion and just go ahead and follow the federal directive already. The Trib has more.

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2 Comments

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