Local & Regional
Thu November 7, 2013
Governor Says Oklahoma Won't Process Same-Sex Benefits
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Governor Mary Fallin says Oklahoma National Guard facilities and employees who are paid with state tax dollars won't process benefits for married, same-sex couples.
Fallin said Wednesday that all marriage benefits — including same-sex benefits — will be processed by federal employees at four federally owned National Guard facilities and at the state's five military bases.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week ordered the National Guard to comply with federal rules recognizing same sex benefits. But Fallin says the Oklahoma Constitution explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman and prohibits marriage benefits for same sex couples.
Fallin says the decision allows the National Guard to obey state law without violating federal rules or policies and protects the integrity of the state Constitution and its marriage guidelines.