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Texas Guard refuses to process same-sex benefits, but Florida says it will accept couples' applications

BY CHRIS TOMLINSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas National Guard is refusing to process requests for benefits submitted by same-sex couples because of the state constitution's definition of marriage.

Pentagon officials say Texas is the only state they know of that is turning couples away. Tuesday is the first working day that gays in the military may apply for benefits.

Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, sent a letter saying that the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nichols says that means his state agency cannot process applications for benefits from gay and lesbian couples. He recommends service members go to a federal installation to apply.

Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma also have bans on gay marriage, but their national guard units are accepting same-sex couples' applications.

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