Oklahoma Gov. Fallin halts soldier benefits for same-sex couples

Oklahoma Governor Fallin halts soldier benefits for same-sex couples

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(AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the Oklahoma 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 goveror was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment that specifically 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, like Tinker Air Force Base, rather than a state-operated facility.

Weintz gave FOX 25 this statement on the Governor's order:

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.

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