OKLAHOMA CITY, September 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard in her state to stop processing spousal benefit requests for homosexual couples, in defiance of a Department of Defense directive expanding military dependent benefits to cover same-sex couples who “marry” in states where it is legal.
This makes Oklahoma the fourth state to defy the Pentagon’s orders on the same-sex “marriage” issue, after Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. All four states have passed laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Same-sex couples in all four states can still apply for military benefits, but they must go to federal installations to do so.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told The Huffington Post the governor was simply honoring the will of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex ‘marriage’ in 2004.
“Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin's general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples,” Weintz said. “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.”
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But homosexual activists, unhappy with this compromise, have demanded quick intervention by the Obama Administration to force dissenting states to recognize gay unions.
“[W]e need immediate and decisive action from the Administration and the Defense Department in affirming that all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, will be treated equally,” said Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), a group that advocates for homosexual couples. “Our military families should not be left vulnerable to the prejudice of state governors, and the Defense Department must use its control of federal funds to stop this discrimination.”
Michael Boldin, Executive Director of the Tenth Amendment Center, which studies conflicts between the federal government and the states, told LifeSiteNews by email that, at least for now, it seems as if governors who choose to defy the Pentagon based on state law have the constitutional upper hand.
“[T]here's a very important principle known as ‘anti-commandeering,’” Boldin said. “The short version? It means that the federal government can't force states (including their employees) to carry out federal acts.”
“Congress can ‘nationalize’ the Guard,” said Boldin, “but only SO LONG AS it does so to ‘execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.’ It cannot ‘govern’ the Guard except when ‘employed in the Service of the United States,’ as per the three specific scenarios in Clause 15.”
Boldin added that this issue is a prime example of why his group feels it is important that states consider and pass the Defend the Guard Act, which removes ambiguity by requiring explicit action by Congress in order to nationalize a state’s Guard.
“Since there's no invasion (in the 18th century constitutional sense, that means a military attack), and no insurrection, and Congress hasn't specifically called up the Guard to execute the ‘Laws of the Union,’ all of the state Guard troops should be retained under state control,” Boldin said.
In the meantime, Boldin said if the federal government wants to force states to facilitate benefit acquisition for homosexual couples, they might be able to do it … but legally, they should have to pay for any resources spent on it themselves.
“[The federal government] cannot … require state employees, acting under the purview of powers reserved to the States under the Constitution – to do this for the federal government,” Boldin told LifeSiteNews. “They also can't require those states to absorb the costs. Not one penny.”