ADL Welcomes Secretary Hagel’s Leadership to Ensure Spousal Benefits for Same-Sex Married Couples; And Pledge for Early Delivery of High-Tech Aircraft to Israel

New York, NY, November 1, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for his leadership to ensure that same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities are extended the same benefits as other married military families.

In remarks Thursday night at ADL’s Annual Meeting in New York City, Secretary Hagel expressed concern that several states were refusing to issue Department of Defense ID cards, and the benefits that come with them, to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities in violation of the states’ obligations under federal law.

Secretary Hagel sharply criticized those states that were defying the Pentagon on issuing the ID cards and announced he had directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau to take immediate action and meet with Adjutants General from those states where benefits are being denied to ensure that all comply with the new policy. The Pentagon says 114 Army and Air National Guard sites in nine states are not providing benefits to eligible same-sex couples.

"It is troubling that several states are refusing to issue ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "The country should have only one law when it comes to same-sex partners of our brave men and women in uniform. We welcome Secretary Hagel’s leadership on this issue, and his affirmation that same-sex families are entitled to all the benefits and respect accorded to all service members."

The League also welcomed Secretary Hagel’s announcement that he had directed the Marine Corps to expedite the manufacture and delivery to Israel of six new V-22 Osprey aircraft, as well as his statement that, "The Israeli and American defense relationship is stronger than ever, and it will continue to strengthen."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.