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Some Gay National Guard Couples Faced With Roadblocks To Benefits

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In response to the overturning of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, the Department of Defense this September began to recognize same-sex married military couples and provide them with the same spousal benefits as straight couples.

But several states including Georgia, Louisiana and Texas and Mississippi say the federal policy conflicts with their state laws, which do not recognize same sex marriage.

Four states are not allowing gay spouses to obtain benefits on state-run National Guard bases and three other states are sending all members — gay or straight — to federal facilities to register.

Gay military members say they often must travel far distances, sometimes out of state, to get the benefits for which they are entitled. In some extreme cases, gay married spouses cannot get a housing allowance and other benefits because they cannot go to the state-run bases.

National Guard lieutenant colonel Chris Rowzee speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about her experiences as a gay, married woman in the military. He also speaks with Alicia Butler, an Austin lawyer who is married to a first lieutenant in the Texas Army National Guard.


  • Chris Rowzee, lieutenant colonel in the National Guard.
  • Alicia Butler, lawyer in Austin, Texas, who is married to Judith Chedville, a first lieutenant with the Texas Army National Guard.
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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