Opinion

Texas National Guard refuses to process gay spousal benefits

Even for liberals, this controversy’s a stretch.

Liberal activists are trying to put Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas in their crosshairs once again because a woman married to a lesbian trooper in the Texas National Guard was turned away from a guard headquarters in Austin when she sought an identity card Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

texasguardTuesday was the first day that married gays in the military could apply for spousal benefits, but the Texas Guard doesn’t process paperwork for gay spouses because the state doesn’t recognize gay marriage. (And they apparently have a weird hang-up about something called “law” there.)

The woman, Alicia Butler, was advised to go to the Army base at Fort Hood, where gay marriage benefits could be processed under federal rules.

Instead, she went to the American Military Partners Association, a Washington, D.C.-based gay-activist group founded in 2009 for gay service members and their spouses.

The activist group went to The Associated Press. And presto, a national discrimination story is born.

“It’s so petty,” Butler told the AP, in a story that has been picked up by the national networks (ABC, Fox), newspapers (the Washington Post, the Boston Globe) and lefty websites like the Advocate, Think Progress etc.

“It’s not like it’s going to stop us from registering or stop us from marrying. It’s a pointed way of saying, ‘we don’t like you.’”

Petty is right. And Alicia Butler is the new Rosa Parks, except that instead of risking her future by demanding full citizenship rights for millions of Americans denied them because of the color of their skin, she’s getting her Warholian 15 minutes to demand an identity card she could just as easily get by driving 90 miles north. (And she lives in Texas. Driving 90 miles north in Texas is like going to the bathroom in Connecticut.)

She’s doing it for all those other married, gay national guardsmen in Texas who don’t want to be forced to go to a federal base to have their paperwork processed.

The AP story — probably deliberately – leaves out an estimate of how many that might be, but everyone directly affected by this not named Alicia Butler could have probably fit in the car for the drive.

Aside from being of minuscule impact, this is literally just a question of paperwork. According to AP, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, which includes the National Guard, told service members in a letter that the agency couldn’t process applications from gay and lesbian couples because the Texas constitution prohibits recognizing their marriages.

However, he wrote, the agency “remains committed to ensuring its military personnel and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled. As such, we encourage anyone affected by this issue to enroll for benefits at a federal installation.”

The letter included the locations of 22 federal bases in Texas where service members could enroll their families.

That kind of Bull Connor bigotry has gay activists truly outraged.

“It’s truly outrageous that the State of Texas has decided to play politics with our military families,” said Stephen Peters, president of the military partners association, which has already launched a petition on its website demanding this travesty of justice be rectified – and includes a phone number for callers to leave Perry a voice mail.

“Our military families are already dealing with enough problems and the last thing they need is more discrimination from the state of Texas,” Peters said.

Actually, it sounds like whatPeters and his group need most is a fundraising angle. And when it comes to fundraising, the libs love Texas.

But even for them, this is a stretch.

 

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