Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel dished out some pretty stiff criticism to several U.S. states Thursday after they refused to grant National Guard facilities the ability to issue IDs to partners of gay and lesbian members of the military, Humanevents.com reported on Nov. 3.
According to Secretary Hagel, nine states continue to deny rights of same-sex partners of military personnel at National Guard installations.
"This is wrong," Hagel said.
"Not only does this violate the states' obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they're entitled to," he added.
Secretary Hagel also stated that the issue pertaining to the IDs is causing a rift between military ranks. In an effort to resolve the issue, Hagel ordered the chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank Grass, to meet with the adjutants general in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Indiana .
The nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense of the United States created uncertainty among homosexuals serving in the U.S. military.
Secretary Hagel recently said that "all men and women deserve the same rights, and I can assure you that this will be a priority." The former MP said that this issue is becoming more important to the extent that gay marriage has been legalized in several of the fifty states.
In the past, Hagel had been targeted by the associations that defend LGBT rights for homophobic statements he made in the late nineties.