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Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma leads Gen. Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau through the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., where seven students were killed during the May 20th, 2013 tornado.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin inspecting tornado damage with National Guard leaders.
Supreme Court decisions or not, Defense Department orders or not, bigots are gonna be bigots. That's the reminder we get from various states' refusals to follow a direct order from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to give National Guard members in same-sex marriages the spousal benefits to which they are entitled. Bigots can take different routes, though. In Texas, they're simply refusing to do it, sending same-sex couples to federal facilities that might be hundreds of miles away. Oklahoma, by contrast, has stopped processing spousal benefits for everyone, apparently figuring it doesn't count as discrimination if you treat everyone equally badly in order to be allowed to treat some people badly.

In an announcement earlier in the month, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said:

FALLIN: Oklahoma law is clear. The state of Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor does it confer marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision reached today allows the National Guard to obey Oklahoma law without violating federal rules or policies. It protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.
Actually, the federal government can and often does supersede state laws. That's not generally controversial except among secessionists. For instance, several states have laws on the books saying they don't have a minimum wage, or have one below the federal level of $7.25. Yet despite state law, the minimum wage in those states is $7.25 an hour. Or take interracial marriage. At the time the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, Oklahoma had a state law against interracial marriage; that law was effectively struck down by the Court's decision. Fallin's implication that it would somehow be unprecedented for Oklahoma to have to do something it doesn't want to do because of the federal government is twisted and moronic, and as Think Progress points out, the vast majority of funding for the Oklahoma Military Department comes from the federal government to begin with.

Meanwhile, of course, the lives of all married Oklahoma National Guards are made more difficult in service of a spiteful bigotry.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 08:45 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Oklahoma Roundup, and Daily Kos.

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