Bryant to resist Pentagon call to give Army NG benefits to spouses in gay marriages

Gov. Phil Bryant says he has no choice but to reject a soon-to-be-delivered order from the Pentagon for Mississippi to grant same-sex spouses of Army National Guard members the same benefits as other spouses.

Bryant’s stand sets up a showdown with the Pentagon at a time Mississippi is trying to hang on to its military installations and is seeking to show it is a strong partner of the military.

The governor is refusing to lift the state’s Army National Guard ban on spouses in gay marriages being eligible for IDs necessary to obtain benefits — a circumstance Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says he will not abide.

Bryant says he does not have the constitutional authority to lift the ban. “The Mississippi Constitution clearly defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and expressly prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions,” Bryant said through a spokesman.

Mississippi Business Journal