theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

December 6, 2013

Oklahoma Guard: Benefit change causes little disruption


www.theadanews.com

Oklahoma City — Nearly a month after a directive by Gov. Mary Fallin changed the way the Oklahoma National Guard handles marriage benefits, Guard officials say the change has caused little disruption.

   The Guard stopped handling marriage benefits at two state-owned facilities after U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the Guard to begin processing those benefits for same-sex couples.

   In last month’s announcement, Fallin said marriage benefits for all couples would be processed by federal, not state employees. 

   But the change has had little practical effect, since only two state-owned sites processed marriage benefits before the change.

  Those two facilities— the Norman and Broken Arrow armed forces reserve centers — are located near other sites that process those benefits. So soldiers and airmen who previously would have gone to those two centers will now go to other sites in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas.

   Following the change, the Guard now accepts applications for marriage benefits and military ID cards for all spouses — including same-sex couples — at four federally owned facilities around the state or at any of the five federal military installations in the state.