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12 October 2011

FollowUp 1: Elaine Donnelly's response to Pentagon Memo allows Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex Marriages

The very first posting on Pedantic Political Ponderings was repudiating a response to the Pentagon authorizing military chaplains to perform same sex weddings if local and state laws allowed.  Elaine Donnelly was one of several who made absurd claims that chaplains would be required to officiate at same sex weddings or that the chaplains would be leaving the military rather than have the religious beliefs compromised or other silly claims.

Today, ABC News reports that the military chaplains are comfortable with making individual decisions about whether to officiate at particular marriages (just like the decisions they would be making if not in the military).  Here's a short quote from the article.

However,  military chaplains contacted by ABC News say whatever decisions they make about performing such unions will depend less on the political arena and more on religious principles and personal conscience.

“The Pentagon can issue a policy change concerning the performance of same-gender ceremonies by chaplains.  However, the Pentagon doesn’t generate religion as such,” says Gary Pollitt, a spokesman for the Military Chaplains Association, which represents 1,600 current and retired military chaplains.

In an e-mail statement he adds, “A military chaplain conducts religious ceremonies and rites in keeping with the canons [or beliefs, doctrine, policies] of the religious faith group that endorses that chaplain.  Each faith group defines the parameters for religious rites and the clergyperson’s individual discretion [if any] with those rites. ”

This sounds rather like what I wrote two weeks ago.  Not a surprise.  The Pentagon would neither want to alienate its chaplains by forcing them to perform ceremonies that they feel they should not perform nor does it want to violate the First Amendment.  The policy on marriage for military chaplains simply makes sense.

Please forgive a repeat of my long term prediction:

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.

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