South Carolina National Guard changes benefit applications to federal offices due to equal marriage ban

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The National Guard in the US state of South Carolina has issued a benefit card to a same-sex couple, and is directing benefit applications to federal installations to avoid a conflict with a law banning equal marriage in the state.

The issue of the benefit cards comes following a directive by the Pentagon from last month, which extended federal benefits to same-sex couples in the armed forces.

The Defense Department issued its directive following the Supreme Court strike-down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) back in June. That extended over 1,100 federal benefits to same-sex married couples.

Adjutant General Robert Livington said in an interview with the Greenville News that the National Guard in the state is moving its benefit application process from state facilities to federal ones in order to avoid the conflicting laws.

According to General Livington, 98% of South Carolina National Guard employees are federal workers, and eight guard facilities are transferring the benefit process to five federal offices.

Last month four US state National Guards  said they would not follow the directive, all citing their state-wide bans on equal marriage. National Guard members were also able to go to federal facilities in those states.