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Florida attorney general doesn’t answer National Guard question about gay-spouse benefits

BY CAROL ROSENBERG, CROSENBERG@MIAMIHERALD.COM

The office of Florida’s attorney general has declined to offer an opinion on whether the Florida National Guard can process benefits enrollment for the spouses of gay troops on state property.

Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., Florida’s adjutant general, wrote Attorney General Pam Bondi seeking the opinion on Sept. 6, essentially asking whether processing gay Guard members’ spouses for benefits would conflict with the state’s constitution, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Friday, Gerry Hammond, senior assistant attorney general, wrote Titshaw that his request for an opinion “provided insufficient information about the connection between the newly announced policy of the United States Secretary of Defense and your official duties as the head of the Florida Department of Military Affairs.”

At issue is a Pentagon policy change that, starting Sept. 3, extended health and housing allowance benefits to gay spouses who “provide a valid marriage certificate.” Titshaw sought guidance on whether Florida Guard members could enroll legal, gay spouses on state property.

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