Most, but not all, full-time staff of the Alabama National Guard is covered by a new Pentagon policy providing benefits for same-sex couples.
Capt. Andrew Richardson of the Alabama National Guard says there are about 2,500 full-time Guardsmen in Alabama who are considered federal employees and are eligible for federal benefits. They are covered by the Pentagon's new policy.
He says the Guard has fewer than 300 full-time employees who are considered state employees, and they continue to receive state benefits. Those benefits don't cover same-sex marriages.
A large National Guard training center is planned for north Alabama.
Gov. Robert Bentley and state Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur announced that the training center will be developed on the old site of the Lurleen B. Wallace Developmental Center in Decatur. The facility was operated by the state Department of Mental Health until it closed a decade ago. The Department of Mental Health turned over the deed to the National Guard on Thursday.