Same-Sex Benefits
12:35 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Same-Sex Military Couple Denied Federal Benefits By Texas National Guard

This week the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of sections of the Defense Of Marriage Act kicked in for same-sex federal employees and military personnel, which allows gay and lesbian couples to register for federal benefits.

So Austin attorney Alicia Butler and her wife, who is an Army nurse that served during the Iraq War, set out to register at the Army National Guard post at Camp Mabry.

"And were told that because we we're a same-sex couple the State of Texas would not enroll us in DEERS and would not make an ID for me," Butler said. "So then we asked, 'Well, if we get enrolled in the system somewhere else, for logistical reasons could we come back and just get my photo ID made?' and they said, 'No, we can’t even do that.'"

DEERS is the military health benefit system. Butler said guard officials at Camp Mabry told her she could drive to San Antonio or Fort Hood to register for benefits.

"It’s coming from the Texas National Guard, but from the folks who call the shots, which I understand is Governor Perry’s office, and so it’s really aggravating to be used as a political point by somebody who ought to be thankful that our family is supportive of the military and military service," Butler said.

Butler said she has filed a complainant to the Austin Office of Inspector General and hopes that something can be worked out by the Department of Defense and the state.

Butler said they heard a rumor that this would happen with Texas military officials, but chalked it up to hearsay. They have an appointment at the base in San Antonio in two weeks to register for same-sex partner benefits.

According to the DOD, Texas is the only state to deny same-sex military couples benefits.