Despite a state ban on recognizing same-sex marriage, the Louisiana National Guard will begin processing applications for military benefits for its servicemembers who are in same-sex relationships.
According to The Washington Post, officials from the Louisiana National Guard devised a plan with the Department of Defense last week that allows servicemembers to receive their eligible benefits without conflicting with the state's laws. National Guard members who want to apply for the entitlements, which include military identification cards for their spouses and survivor benefits, will be temporarily placed on a federal status by the National Guard Bureau. Federal employees will then undertake the enrollment of the benefits. However, servicemembers will be able to apply for the benefits at Louisiana National Guard offices instead of federal installations.
"State officials will still follow the state constitution as we always have. We have worked with the Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau to help them come up with a federal solution to their federal program," National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Kazmierzak told The Associated Press.
The state's change of policy for military spousal benefits comes just a few weeks after the Texas Military Forces created a similar measure for its National Guard members. According to The Washington Post, Georgia and Mississippi are the only states that are still resisting the directive from the Pentagon, which stated that all servicemembers in same-sex marriages must be able to apply and receive these spousal rewards.