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Sep 13 2012

Which is more respectful of religious freedom?

A. Allowing military chaplains the option to perform, or refuse to perform, same-sex wedding ceremonies or any other wedding ceremonies on military bases.

B. Banning all military chaplains from performing any same-sex wedding ceremonies on bases, regardless of their beliefs or whether they may actually want to perform such ceremonies.

If you answered B, congratulations! You’re Senator Jim Inhofe:

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe hasn’t given up his resistance to the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the military or same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, Inhofe and fellow Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi introduced a measure that would ban same-sex marriages on military bases and protect military chaplains from “pressure” to perform such ceremonies.

The two senators described the Military Religious Freedom Act as an effort to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, on the Defense Department in the wake of the December 2010 repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which ended the official ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. …

A Defense Department directive issued last year says: “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation.”

For all of their concern about non-existent “pressure” to perform same-sex weddings, the authors of this “religious freedom” measure certainly don’t seem to mind when homophobic lawmakers legally pressure LGBT-accepting chaplains to stop doing the ceremonies they themselves wish to perform. What about their religious freedom? Or do anti-gay politicians only subscribe to the “you are free to do as we tell you” theory of freedom?

10 comments

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  1. 1
    troll

    I know the question in your closing sentence was rhetorical, but I’m going to answer it anyway.

    Yes. Yes, they do.

  2. 2
    Lou Doench

    Butbutbut… I don’t wanna be Senator James Inhofe… He’s an idiot.

  3. 3
    Yewtree

    Option A is more respecting of religious freedom because there are several religions that WANT to perform or actually DO perform same-sex weddings – Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists, Liberal & Reform Jews, Pagans, the Metropolitan Community Church, etc.

    These Republicans are barking mad.

  4. 4
    John Horstman

    C. Mandating that military chaplains, as agents of the federal government, not discriminate against service members on the basis of sex, gender, or sexuality.

    D. Getting rid of the government institutionalization of religion that is the corps of military chaplains.

    Letting chaplains choose if they want to perform ceremonies for some but not others is no more respectful of religious freedom – that of soldiers – than is allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control. We’re not talking about a private church, we’re talking about the public sector, and mandating non-discriminatory behavior ABSOLUTELY is appropriate, including insisting that chaplains perform gay (or otherwise queer) weddings if they perform straight ones. Part of their job is not discriminating – if they only want to perform certain religious ceremonies, they should work as priests/pastors/rabbis/imams/monks/yogis/gurus/shamans/etc. for a specific religious group in line with their views. Neither A nor B works.

  5. 5
    Francisco Bacopa

    Last wedding I went to was about 11 years ago. Officiated by a Christian Church DOC minister. Awesomest wedding ever, but not legally binding. I googled the dudes and they are still together and dude who was high school choir director still has his job.

    How can saying you can marry or not marry whoever you want be an infringement on religious freedom. Here in Houston the most pro gay churches are the DOC, a few Methodist churches, most ELCA Lutherans, most Episcopal churches, a couple breakaway Anglican churches, and a pro-gay branch of the Missionary Baptist Church with two locations.

    The Texas Baptist convention even had a semi-schism when they sent a woman representative to the SBC convention five years ago, but sadly, most SBC churches in Texas have knuckled under.

    But what do I care? I am an atheist supremacist who thinks in the long run there shouldn’t be churches, and that in the short run atheists can never protect their freedom as long as any believer holds a position of authority over an atheist. We must seize the commanding heights of economic power and take control of the coercive instruments of state power. Only then can we be free.

    But all that is my long term dream. In the meantime busting up all the patriarchal shit in the churches is enough.

  6. 6
    Robert B.

    Um. Is there anyone who actually wants to force a homophobe to officiate at their gay wedding? It’s supposed to be this declaration of ultimate love and devotion, and someone supposedly wants to bring in an MC who hates the whole idea? Why? Just to fuck with him?

    1. 6.1
      M can help you with that.

      No, there aren’t — but there are people who want to force the non-homophobes to support a heterosexual-supremacist version of marriage.

    2. 6.2
      baal

      If the job of the Chaplains on base is to marry people then yes, same sex couples should have the same access to resources (including someone to officiate the marriage) as an non-same sex couple. If this creates pressure on the pro-bias chaplains to moderate their views, I’d call that a design feature rather than a bug.

  7. 7
    Christoph Burschka

    ban same-sex marriages on military bases and protect military chaplains from “pressure” to perform such ceremonies.

    Oh, just like banning same-sex marriage helps protect heterosexuals from pressure to get married to the same sex?

  8. 8
    mimi

    You don’t need a chaplain to marry in the military. I don’t know whether the military allows gays to marry yet, but heteros at least can have any kind of wedding they want, with or without a chaplain.

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