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An open letter to Gov. Mary Fallin about military benefits for gay couples Published: September 25, 2013

photo - Photo via Huffington Post
Photo via Huffington Post

A letter to Gov. Mary Fallin was published on The Huffington Post Wednesday, addressing her recent order for the Oklahoma National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples.

Oklahoma now joins Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana as the only states that have publicly said they will limit how and where such couples can register for benefits, despite a recent Pentagon directive that gay couples be treated equally. Oklahoma National Guard soldiers and airmen seeking such benefits are now being told they can apply at federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base or Fort Sill, but not at state-run facilities manned by state employees.

>>Read: Oklahoma National Guard reverses stance on same-sex couple benefits

In the letter, author Dillon Peña wrote that he’s a former friend of Fallin’s daughter and has met the governor on several occasions.

“I am an Oklahoma fan through and through. I cheer for the Thunder as well as OU and OSU. You see, Governor, I would love to move back to Oklahoma someday. However, today, Governor, in the eyes of the great state of Oklahoma, my two brothers and I are not equal. When you recently ordered that same-sex partners of servicemembers in the Oklahoma National Guard not receive the spousal benefits that their partners earned and that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy, you boldly declared that people like me are not equal in your eyes.

“Today I have a job in which I am excelling, but in Oklahoma I could be fired simply for being who I am. I could walk into any restaurant and be denied service for being who I am. Worst of all, if I were in the Oklahoma National Guard, I would be reminded that my sacrifice was not equal to that of my fellow servicemembers, solely because I love a man and not a woman.”

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