To my eye, this is entirely in keeping with the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the repeal of DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). But, it is not good enough for Ms. Elaine Donnelly who heads the so-called Center for Military Readiness. The following is my repudiation of what Ms. Donnelly said in an article on OneNewsNow.
“The exception clause that a chaplain would not have to participate in such a union -- if they choose not to -- is really only a fig leaf,” says Donnelly, “because chaplains who assign certain duties [to someone else] that normally would be theirs … will suffer career penalties. We know this has already happened in some other countries that have done this -- so it’s no reassurance at all.”
The memo refers to private ceremonies, not official duties. Chaplains cannot be assigned to private ceremonies. The imagined career penalties is silly.
As some members of Congress have stated, Donnelly sees the move is a blatant disregard of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Nope. It is very clear in the memo: provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.
“Chaplains are going to be very disturbed by it,” she continues. “I think everyone who cares about our chaplains and people of faith in the military have good reason to be dismayed.”
Those chaplains who have resigned from the service over the repeal of DADT (I have heard that there is just one who quit) are certain to be disturbed. Ms. Donnelly does not give enough credit to the fortitude of the Chaplain Corps.
Ms. Donnelly goes on to say that a bill that passed the House of Representatives and has not been considered in the Senate will undo this memo. Further, the next President and Congress will need to undo regulations.
While Ms. Donnelly is welcome to her wishful thinking, none of that is preordained.
The repeal of DADT and subsequent adjustments of military policy will end up strengthening the United States military. When soldiers do not need to hide who they are, they will be more confident fighters. When soldiers are not making assumptions about their fellow soldiers, they will be more confident fighters. The necessary social bonding of our soldiers and sailors will enhance performance in the long run. The fears of Ms. Donnelly will be seen to be groundless with time.
12 October 2011, FollowUp 1