Oklahoma was in the national spotlight Wednesday night when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported on Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to stop processing same-sex military spouse benefits at state-owned National Guard facilities.
Fallin’s Press Secretary Michael McNutt said Thursday night that benefits for heterosexual spouses will also not be processed at state-owned National Guard facilities. All military spouse benefits will only be processed at nine federally owned National Guard facilities around the state.
Maddow said during her show that Oklahoma stopped processing benefits, so Fallin “can stick to her guns and not give gay couples their rights.”
Gov. Mary Fallin tweeted Wednesday that National Guardsman are not being denied marriage benefits.
To set the record straight – no National Guardsman in Oklahoma is being denied marriage benefits. Stories that suggest otherwise are false.
— Governor Mary Fallin (@GovMaryFallin) November 20, 2013
Oklahoma is one of nine states that refused to process benefits for same-sex spouses. Same-sex married couples may now apply for military benefits at Camp Gruber, near Braggs; the Regional Training Institute in Oklahoma City and Air National Guard bases at Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.
“Because given the choice, the state of Oklahoma will pass when it comes to treating members of the military the way the military says they ought to be treated.
“Congratulations Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. You’re about to be way, way more famous than you have ever been before,” Maddow said.
Fallin has said previously that the Guard cannot legally process requests for benefits from same-sex couples.
“In 2004, Oklahomans voted to amend the state constitution to define marriage to be between a man and a woman,” spokesman Alex Weintz said in an emailed statement. “That measure, which passed with 75 percent support from Oklahoma voters, also specifically prohibited giving benefits of marriage to people who are not married. It is therefore prohibited by the Oklahoma Constitution for National Guardsmen, or other state employees or entities, to process benefits for gay couples.”