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02 February 2012

Repudiation: NOM Fights to Protect Chaplains from Imaginary Foe

Apparently the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) read Elaine Donnelly's column instead of the messages from the DoD.
Did you see this day coming?
Who would have thought we needed a federal statute to protect military chaplains—and other servicemen and women—who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman?
We don't.  Chaplains are already allowed to conduct only those private services that they choose.  Marriages are always private services.
But just months after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, there is a full-on battle for marriage raging within our nation's armed forces.
There is not.  But, NOM and a few Republicans would like people to think that there is this battle.  Before continuing with the NOM article, let's quote a bit from yesterday's Politico.
The latest move comes in the form of legislation, filed last week by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), which would bar gay marriages on Defense Department property and protect service members who express opposition to homosexuality based on their beliefs from adverse action or possible discrimination.
And it would specifically mandate that military chaplains cannot be “directed, ordered or required to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain’s faith group.”
There response is that this is creating a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.
Pentagon officials, though, say there haven’t been any significant problems since the repeal took effect.
“The implementation of the repeal of DADT is proceeding smoothly across the Department of Defense,” Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said. “We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program, combined with the continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders at all levels.”
And advocates for gay and lesbian service members have promised to fight Huelskamp’s legislation.
“There is no need for the so-called protections in this bill or the proposed regulations. No chaplain today is being required or pressured to marry anyone, straight or gay. Period,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has led much of the fight for military benefits for gay families.
“The bill’s ban on use of military facilities and chaplains officiating at ceremonies for gay and lesbian service members is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned discrimination. There is no place for that prejudice in our armed forces or in our country,” he said.
To be clear, there is no document to post from the Department of Defense that indicates that any chaplain might be required to perform any marriage that she or he does not wish to perform.  Back to the lies from NOM:
Last April, the Navy issued new "sensitivity training" guidelines that required Navy chaplains to perform same-sex marriages. Thanks to leadership from Congressmen Tim Huelskamp and Todd Akin, the Navy backed down and rescinded the guidelines.
Nope.  This never happened.  While military chaplains, including those in the Navy, are required to serve all, no chaplain guidelines ever had a requirement that any chaplain ever perform any marriage, a private ceremony, that they did not want to perform.

To be clear, the Navy did provide a directive to the chaplains that they could perform same sex marriages, as reported in the Stars and Stripes.  NOM appears to have trouble distinguishing between permission to do so and requirement to do so.
In September, the Department of Defense issued two more memos, requiring all military facilities to be available for same-sex weddings and allowing chaplains to participate in same-sex ceremonies.
This is true.  There is the provision that marriages may only be performed if it is allowed by state and local laws.  Again, there was an article in the Stars and Stripes.
Recognizing this growing threat to the religious liberty of our armed forces, Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas last week introduced the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act (H.R. 3828). The bill does three things:
  1. Protects military chaplains from being forced to participate in any ceremony or function that is against their conscience or religious beliefs.
  2. Protects our men and women in uniform from being discriminated against because of religious beliefs opposed to same-sex marriage or homosexuality.
  3. Prohibits the use of military facilities for same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Superfluous regulation.  No one's religious liberty was ever threatened.  1.  No chaplains are ever forced to participate in a private ceremony and marriages are always private ceremonies.  2.  This is intended to protect those who discriminate, not protect anyone from discrimination.  3.  This is an imposition on the religious liberty of chaplains who would choose to perform a marriage for two individuals of the same gender.  Explicit discrimination; exactly that from which Mr. Huelskamp's legislation claims to be protecting chaplains.
But President Obama is refusing to do his job as President—picking and choosing which laws are worth enforcing. He refuses to defend DOMA in court and is actively undermining it at every turn. And same-sex marriage activists have been working to leverage the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to harass and intimidate chaplains and other service members who are standing up for marriage.
The President is doing his job.  He is doing it better than Republicans like considering the nature of the opposition he has faced.  When a law is clearly unconstitutional, the President is serving the country well by not defending a law which will eventually be overturned or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  DOMA is unconstitutional.

NOM has a long history of lies, from their misleading name to unfounded accusations against the LGBTQ Community.  The truth is that no clergy, including those serving in the military, will ever be forced to perform marriages of those who do not meet their private criteria.  This means that those who will only marry couples who refuse to paint their toenails will always be allowed that criteria or any other. If one clicks through to the send message page, it has a message to send and a large donate button.  This is about scaring people and fund raising.

Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.

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