JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri National Guard is processing requests from same-sex partners for military ID cards.
A Pentagon policy taking effect in early September makes same-sex spouses of gay military members eligible for health care and other benefits that also are available to opposite-sex partners. The decision does not apply to unmarried gay partners.
Missouri National Guard spokeswoman Major Tammy Spicer says the guard is following the Department of Defense's policy and processes requests for those who can provide proof of marriage. She says ID cards have been issued to same-sex partners but that the exact number of couples who received the IDs was not available this weekend.
Officials in other states have refused to issue the ID cards at their facilities.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas National Guard is refusing to process requests from same-sex couples for benefits, and Mississippi won't issue applications from state-owned offices, because of the states' gay-marriage bans.
Tuesday is the first working day that gays in the military may apply for benefits after the Pentagon announced it would recognize same-sex marriages.
In Texas, gay and lesbian couples are being told to go to federal military bases to get ID cards and apply for health coverage. Mississippi officials say same-sex couples can apply on federally owned National Guard bases, but not on state property.
Both states cited their bans on gay marriage. But numerous other states that also ban gay marriage are following the Pentagon's directive.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the National Guard must follow the state's constitutional ban.
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today ordered the deployment of 50 military policemen of the Missouri National Guard to assist local civil authorities in protecting lives and property threatened by flash floods in areas of southern Missouri impacted by flooding from recent heavy rain.
“The Citizen-Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard are one of our most valuable assets in helping Missourians during and after natural disasters, and their skill and training will greatly assist state and local emergency responders in taking necessary action to save lives,” Gov. Nixon said.
This morning, Gov. Nixon spoke to elected officials in Laclede, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski counties about the situation in each of those counties, and about the ongoing assistance from the state.
Yesterday, the Governor declared a state of emergency after heavy rains caused flash flooding and at least one confirmed death in the Waynesville area. That executive order activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
In addition to the deployment of the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has deployed additional marine operations troopers, a rescue helicopter and associated assets to the region to assist local emergency responders. At the Governor’s direction, those resources will remain in place until the threat has passed. The State Emergency Management Agency is actively monitoring conditions and will continue to work with local response agencies to provide additional support as needed.
The Governor urged residents of flood-affected areas of southern Missouri to pay close attention to weather warnings and follow the safety instructions of local officials as the potential for additional dangerous flooding continues. Missourians, especially motorists, are encouraged to remember these important safety tips on flooding and high water:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
Krumrei takes over for Congressman William Enyart, a retired major general who was elected to Congress as a Democrat last November. He had been in command of the Illinois National Guard since 2007.
Krumrei was command staff chaplain for the Illinois National Guard since 2005. Gov. Pat Quinn in December appointed him to take over for Enyart.
Krumrei assumed command in a ceremony over the weekend at a high school in the central Illinoi community of Chatham.
Roughly 13,000 people serve in the Illinois National Guard.