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Florida Guard asks: Can gay soldiers’ spouses sign up for benefits at state offices?


A week after the Pentagon began processing the spouses of gay troops as equally eligible for federal benefits, the Florida National Guard has yet to decide whether it will embrace the policy or follow the path of Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana and refuse to enroll same-sex spouses.

At issue is not whether the legally married gay spouses of Florida National Guard troops can receive federal benefits. They can.

The question is whether, because the Florida Constitution forbids gay marriage, the Florida National Guard armories and other outposts will refuse to process gay husbands and wives just like heterosexual spouses. If so, gay Guard members would have to go to federally controlled military bases in the state — such as the U.S. Southern Command in Doral or Homestead Air Reserve base — to sign up their spouses.

“The matter has been submitted to Tallahassee for legal review to ensure that the Florida Department of Military Affairs is in compliance with Florida law,” Florida’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr., told the Miami Herald in response to an email inquiry Monday.

More here.