A “wedding” ceremony between a woman enlisted in the U.S. Army and her female “partner,” performed in May at a chapel at Fort Polk in Louisiana by a military chaplain, is raising the ire of lawmakers, military chaplains, and pro-family leaders. Because it took place in Louisiana, where homosexual “marriage” is not legal, the ceremony, thought to be the first same-sex “wedding” performed on a U.S. military base, was described by a Fort Polk spokesman as a “same-gender private religious ceremony,” according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Representative John Fleming (R-La.) told CNSNews.com that the Army was careful to portray the event as strictly a religious ceremony so that it would not run afoul of Louisiana law. “As it’s characterized, this ceremony occurred only as a religious ceremony [and] was not intended or advertised to be a lawful or legal union,” Fleming said. “Such marriages between persons of the same-sex are not recognized by the state of Louisiana, so it can’t be a lawful or legal marriage ceremony.” He called the military’s word play “a bit distressing … because, why go through this, except for social or cultural experimentation, or to push forward or propagate somebody’s agenda? I just think it’s inappropriate to use military facilities for that purpose.”
In a subsequent statement Fleming, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that “the liberal social experiment with our military continues. A same-sex marriage-like ceremony should not have occurred at Fort Polk, especially since the people of Louisiana have made it abundantly clear that our state does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions.”
Military observers said such a ceremony at a U.S. base was inevitable given Congress’ vote last year to discontinue the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on homosexuals serving in the military. Since then several “gay” service personnel have flaunted their lifestyle and “married” their homosexual partners in high-profile ceremonies — though none, until now, on a military base.
Representative Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who has worked to protect military bases and chaplains from such events, said that the ceremony was “clearly in contravention of state law and also violates the Defense Department policies issued last fall.” He expressed his serious concern “that a same-sex ceremony would occur on a military base in a state where the definition of marriage has been clearly defined as between one man and one woman. This appears to be a case where a political agenda has trumped the rule of law, which is absolutely unacceptable.”
Akin said that the situation “confirms the importance of the language that my colleagues and I worked to include in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, which would protect chaplains and service members from this liberal agenda. The same individuals who will violate the law to advance their agenda will persecute those around them who disagree with their views.”
Charles Joughin of the Human Rights Campaign, a “gay” activist group pushing for the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle, argued that military personnel are free to reserve facilities on military bases for ceremonies like weddings. “The sexual orientation of those involved in a private event shouldn’t have any relevance to whether or not people can access facilities that are open to everyone,” he insisted to CNN.
But Dr. Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, which represents some 2,500 Christian military chaplains, disagreed, arguing that such events are inappropriate on military bases, and that the personnel involved in the Fort Polk ceremony disregarded the spirit of Louisiana’s law banning homosexual unions. While the lesbian ceremony at Fort Polk could not be considered marriage in a legal sense, “it is clear that this was in fact a marriage-like ceremony, and it was performed on a military base in a state that has a clear definition of marriage in their state law.”
Crews told CNSNews that the ceremony was performed by a chaplain associated with the Disciples of Christ denomination, which allows its clergy to perform homosexual “commitment” ceremonies. “They were very careful in the wording, from what I understand, to make this only a religious ceremony,” he said, which “raises the question about the new DOD policy that allows a chaplain to do a marriage-like ceremony in a military chapel in a state that has a clear definition of marriage in their state law. I think there’s something wrong with that picture.”
He said the ceremony highlights the need for legislation that would bar any such same-sex ceremonies on U.S. military property. “The Department of Defense is bowing to a political agenda to turn our nation’s military into a social experiment,” said Crews. “It is time for the American public to say, ‘Enough!’”
In its reaction to the lesbian military “wedding,” the Family Research Council argued that the “men and women in harm’s way deserve Congress’s reassurance that they will not be exploited to advance this administration’s social agenda. DOMA is still the law of the land, and neither the Army nor the Obama administration has the power to change that.”
Photos: Two bride figurines on top of wedding cake via Shutterstock; Fort Polk, Louisiana