The Virginia National Guard is complying with a Defense Department policy on extending benefits to qualified spouses of gay service members.
Gov. Bob McDonnell says legally married same-sex partners of Virginia Guard members will be eligible for the same federal benefits as opposite-sex married couples.
Media outlets report that the move came after Del. Bob Marshall urged McDonnell to defy the federal directive. The conservative Republican from Prince William County urged the governor to follow the examples of states such as Texas, where the Guard commander decided that federal guidelines conflict with state law.
McDonnell said that 90 percent of the state Guard's funding comes from the federal government, so Virginia intends to follow the Defense Department's rules, regulations and policies.