CHARLESTON. W.Va. — The West Virginia National Guard said Friday it is processing military identification cards for same-sex couples at state facilities.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called out National Guard groups in 9 states, including West Virginia, Thursday saying they were causing “division among the ranks” for not processing the cards and forcing the couples to obtain them at federal facilities.
West Virginia National Guard spokesperson Lt. Col. Melissa Shade told MetroNews Friday the West Virginia Guard is processing the requests.
“It’s not our intent to turn away anyone,” Shade said. “We are processing all of the requests that we receive.”
A military ID card has been issued to a same-sex couple from the Martinsburg-based 167th Airlift Wing. Shade said that happened the first week of October. She said another request is being processed out of the Charleston-based 130th Airlift Wing.
Defense Secretary Hagel was critical of the state Guard groups during a speech before the Anti-Defamation League in New York City Thursday. Leaders in some of the states that Hagel mentioned have said they will not process the requests but the couples can get the cards by going to federal facilities in their states.
The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in June. Secretary Hagel promised benefits for military couples by Sept. 3.
Lt. Col. Shade said the West Virginia Guard has received three requests in all but one was sent to a Pittsburgh-based Guard unit for processing because it was closer to where the couple is located.