Activists push partner benefits for military gays
No Same-Sex Weddings at West Point's Catholic Chapel, Says Military Archdiocese
After demise of ‘don’t ask,’ activists call for end to military ban on transgenders
End of DADT Paves Way for New Discrimination

Stars & Stripes Guest Column, Chaplain (Col.) Alexander F. C. Webster (USAR, Ret.): End of DADT Paves Way for New Discrimination



Congress Must Protect DOMA in the Military

Simulated Same-Sex Marriage Memos Circumvent DOMA  

Twenty-four hours after final repeal of the 1993 law usually called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on September 20, Defense Department officials revealed their true intent regarding same-sex marriage in the military.  In two policy memoranda, the Pentagon authorized the use of military facilities for "private ceremonies," and the option for chaplains to conduct those "functions" without official endorsement by the Defense Department.  

Unlike an April 13 Navy memo on the same subject that sparked enormous controversy, the two recent memos, signed by DoD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, omitted the word "marriage."  In effect, the Johnson/Stanley memos are trying to slip through major change by denying that the "ceremonies" referred to in their memos are subject to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

These are the same officials who promised Congress that the Defense Department would comply with the DOMA, which defines marriage as the bond between one man and one woman.  That was before the administration decided to stop defending the DOMA in court in February 2011. In August, the Justice Department went even further, attacking the DOMA and asking a federal court to declare the law unconstitutional. 

The two post-repeal policy memos, which do not mention marriage, present an obvious, unanswered question:  If a "private ceremony" conducted for a same-sex couple by a willing chaplain on a military base is not a marriage, what is it? 

As explained in this CMR Policy Analysis, the new Defense Department policy is an attempt to change the definition of ceremonies celebrating the legal union of one man and one woman. The new policy memos also invite litigation that will challenge the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Congress intended to apply in the military:

Congress Must Protect Defense of Marriage Act in the Military

Congress should not allow administration officials to keep changing the definition and character of marriage in the military, in order to fulfill President Obama's political promises to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) activists.  Before the administration implements flawed social policies that weaken marriage, divide the chaplain corps, impose incalculable costs, and undermine military culture and morale, members of Congress need to assert their constitutional right to make policy for the armed forces.

Family Concerns

As Rowan Scarborough reported in the Washington Times, a leading gay rights group says married gay service members should have the same rights as straight couples once President Obama ends the military's ban on open homosexuality in the ranks. The Defense of Marriage Act would preclude recognition of same-sex couples in states where they are not legal, but the administration is pressing to repeal DOMA and the military could become a battering ram to bring it down:

Washington Times: Group Wants Same Military Benefits for Gay Spouses

 

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman, Mathew Staver, sent a letter of support to Senators John McCain and Carl Levin regarding the continuation of the so-called "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" military policy and the underlying federal law. This letter joins another letter signed by 1,167 retired flag and general officers of the military, who are also asking that the policy be upheld. In the letter, Staver states, "It is incredibly important to note, unlike the militaries of other countries, the United States military is a voluntary force that one does not have a constitutional right to join… It is equally important to note, as is noted in the current law, the primary purpose of the military is 'to prepare for and to prevail in combat.'"

Staver added that open homosexuality disqualifies an applicant. The military must have discipline and order and, of necessity, must house people in close and confined quarters, whether on the battlefield, a ship, or a submarine. The military should not be used as a pawn to promote a political agenda, nor should it be used for a social experiment to deconstruct the family. If the law is repealed, many men and women currently serving in the military will leave.

Liberty Counsel Joins Campaign to Support Military Families

This an excerpt of a book chapter by CMR President Elaine Donnelly titled “Defending the Culture of the Military,” published in May 2010 by the Air Force University Press as part of a book titled Attitudes Are Not Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces. Footnotes are in sequence but different from the original text, which begins on page 249, linked above.

Military Families and Children

In Britain, one of the countries hailed as a role model for homosexual equality, same-sex couples live in military family housing. Before voting to repeal the 1993 Eligibility Law, members of Congress should consider whether a similar “nondiscriminatory” housing policy would have negative effects on family retention in our military.

The British Ministry of Defence also meets regularly with LGBT activist groups to promote “anti-gay-bullying” programs, similar to controversial programs adopted in some American public school systems.

Our military is likely to follow these examples, mandating programs to teach everyone how to get along with incoming homosexuals of all ages. If military parents are unable to opt out or change their children’s schools, how would they react? No one should expect public protests against official intolerance in the name of “tolerance.”Because our military is an all-volunteer force, families will simply leave."

Since the Department of Defense runs the largest school and childcare systems in the world, this would be a huge victory for homosexualists who want the military to become the cutting edge of radical cultural change. New, unprecedented practices ultimately would affect all institutions of American life, far beyond what is already happening today.

 

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