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Religious Tolerance logo

2011-SEP/OCT: Allowing military chaplains to
conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies

4. Lesbian solder allowed to attend function.
House bill to ban SSM on military bases

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We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
"LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
"DOMA" refers to the Defense of Marriage Act

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This topic is continued from Part 3

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2011-OCT-20: Lesbian soldier allowed to bring partner to military event:

New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan recently returned from a deployment in Kuwait and wanted to attend a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event. These are intended to reconnect and support families after partners and spouses return from deployment. Initially, she was told that she could not bring her same-sex partner of 11 years to the event.

However, after the intervention of one of her Senators, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), she was allowed to attend.

Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokesperson, said:

"According to applicable law and DOD policy, a member of the uniformed services who is eligible to attend a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event may designate one or more people of his/her choosing to attend." 1

Senator Shaheen issued a press release saying:

“This is terrific news for Charlie Morgan and her family. But this is just one small part of a much larger problem. We have a fundamental inequity in our policy, which has created two classes of soldiers. It isn’t fair and it has to end. ... Ultimately, this conflict in our military policy is not sustainable. We cannot ask the members of our military to live under different standards depending on whether they are gay or straight. I urge the military to do all it can under the law to promote equality in their regulations, and I urge Congress to join me in the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."

Daniel Blomberg of the litigation council at Alliance Defense Fund -- a fundamentalist Christian legal defense group -- warned of serious consequences if the federal government repeals DOMA and if more individual states legalize SSM. He said:

"Different things should not be treated as the same. Gay marriage is not recognized by federal law and therefore does not mandate the same treatment as a heterosexual marriage that is. The repeal of DOMA is unlikely. Most states, when given the opportunity to do so, have written into their constitutions the definition of a marriage being between one man and one woman. Those state measures passed without any problems, most had 62% in favor. The majority of Americans recognize the importance of maintaining marriage as between a man and a woman."

Again, Blomberg appears to be unaware of national polling that indicates that a majority of American adults favor expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Further, these polls show that support for SSM has been increasing continually for decades.

Dr. Michael Brown, is author of the book "A Queer Thing Happened to America," which takes a very negative view towards the "gay agenda." He believes that the servicemen and women are there to serve the military; the military is not there to serve them. He believes that:

"The military has no right to tamper with that (DOMA law). If they do it will further deteriorate the family unit in America and work against the well-being of the military. 1,2

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2011-NOV: House bill to ban same-sex marriages in military facilities:

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) wrote a letter to the Senate asking them to approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit SSMs on military bases. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and 85 other members of the House cosigned it. It said in part:

"“This clear and deliberate violation of established U.S. law sets a dangerous precedent. [The Defense of Marriage Act] makes it clear that for purposes of the federal government, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. The use of federal property or federal employees to perform anything but opposite-sex ceremonies is a clear contravention of the law."

Akin wrote in a statement:

"Unfortunately, this current administration is now directing the Department of Defense to ignore this law and perform gay marriages on military bases. I think that is wrong, which is why I offered an amendment to the House-passed defense bill making it clear that DOMA applies to the DOD. This letter calls for the Senate to add a similar amendment to their version of the bill. The Department of Defense should not be allowed to simply ignore laws they do not like." 3

The core problem here is a legal conflict:

  • The U.S. Constitution calls for equal treatment of all Americans, including both opposite and same-sex couples wishing to marry.

  • The Defense of Marriage Act calls for special privileges, protections, grants, etc. to be given to opposite-sex couples and denied to same-sex couples who are marrying in the District of Columbia or in a handful of states where SSMs are allowed. This law has been declared unconstitutional by three Federal courts, including one federal Court of Appeals. Another dozen or so lawsuits are active.

This places the Department of Defense in an awkward position:

  • LIke any government agency it is required to obey the DOMA law passed by Congress.

  • However, one of its main functions, and that of every service member, is to defend the U.S. Constitution.

It appears that they decided to obey the constitution, probably because it is a higher authority.

This article in the Christian Post produced a lively discussion among its readers about same-sex marriage:

  • BD: "Bachmann and the other 86 signers of the letter are only hastening the demise of DOMA by highlighting the inequities being perpetrated by the operation of that foolish law."

  • JL: "Homosexuality is a disgusting perversion."

  • RK: "Gay 'marriages', in quotation because it defies the laws of physics of marriage, in a military setting is idiotic. What is the purpose of it? To push more agenda, gain more power, take an inch and they go for a mile...."

  • DVK: "Yeah I'm sure you'd like to return to the traditional, Biblical marriage. You know, between one man, and as many women as he could afford to purchase on the open market...."

  • AS: "Funny how the anti-gay crowd preaches about how homosexuality isn't 'natural', then when it's pointed out how homosexuality is in nature, they flip flop to 'We're not animals' excuse." 3

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2012-JUN-04: Update to the National Defense Authorization Act:

According to the Secular Coalition for America (SCA):

"The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.  4310) which contained two amendments that claim to protect servicemembers’ and chaplains’ rights of conscience and prohibit the use of military facilities for gay marriages, even if those facilities are located in a state that recognizes gay marriage."

"The Senate version of the legislation (S. 2467) was recently reported out of Committee but did not contain similar language. The Coalition will be meeting with Senate staff to ensure that such amendments are not considered when the full Senate debates the measure later this spring. ..." 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Amanda Winkler, "Gay Soldier Allowed to Bring Partner to Military Event," Christian Post, 2011-OCT-20, at: **
  2. Clifford Stanley, "Military Chaplains," Under Secretary of Defense, 2011-SEP-30, at:
  3. Paul Stanley, "Bachmann, Akin Ask Senate to Bar Gay Marriage in Military Facilities, Christian Post, 2011-NOV-03, at:  **
  4. "May at the SCA," Emailing, 2012-JUN-04.

** Warning: We often receive "Reported Attack Page" warnings from Google when accessing many Christian Post articles. The notice on 2011-OCT-31 states: "Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer. Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 2 time(s) over the past 90 days." We recommend caution.

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Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-NOV-07
Author: B.A. Robinson
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