Even though the Defense Department’s deadline for extending benefits to same-sex spouses of service members has passed, five states have yet to comply, National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Frank Grass told reporters on Nov. 19. They include, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina, said Grass, who attributed part of the delay to state constitutions and laws. “What we are trying to work through with states is figuring out, when state law prohibits or doesn’t recognize [same-sex marriages], how can we as a Guard create a site where everybody goes through and . . . [is not] restricted in any way whatsoever,” he said. Grass told reporters during the meeting in Washington, D.C., that he recently spoke with the adjutant generals of two states not yet in compliance and he continues to work with their state’s attorney general to seek out options. Grass gave them a Dec. 1 deadline for a solution. “We are adamant that same sex benefits will be equally extended just as [they are to] heterosexual couples in the Guard,” he said. “We are going to find a solution; we are going to make this fair,” he added.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.