September 18, 2012 Print

Chaplains Detail Problems in Military Since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal

by Bethany Monk

This week marks the first anniversary of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

“This is the anniversary of the Department of Defense using our military to promote a very radical social agenda,” said Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It’s not a time to celebrate. It’s a time to mourn.”

President Bill Clinton implemented DADT in 1993, allowing homosexuals to serve in the U.S. military as long as no one discussed their sexual preferences. President Obama signed the repeal in December 2010; it took effect on Sept. 20, 2011.

The new policy has definitely impacted the morale and has threatened the freedom of service members, Crews said.

“The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not as a social experiment in which our troops serve as human subjects,” he said. “While many will ignore the negative impacts, or pretend that they don’t exist, threats to our troops’ freedom are mounting.”

Some of the negative consequences of the repeal, according to Chaplain Alliance, include:

  • A male service member sexually harassing another male service member at an officer-training school. The harassed service member reported the incident, but superiors took no action.
  • A chaplain threatened with early retirement, then reassigned, because he expressed concerns about the repeal.
  • Same-sex ceremonies have been held at military chapels — including one in Louisiana, where the state constitution defines marriage as one-man and one-woman.

“Compounding the outrage, service members are not free to speak out about these matters,” Crews said. “This ensures that distrust in the ranks will increase and morale will decrease as the number of silenced victims grows.”

Crew said that a military religious freedom act introduced in January, House Resolution 3828, would help military personnel greatly.

“It’s a right-of-conscience clause that would provide protection to military personnel, so

they would not be affected by their opposition to the repeal,” he explained.

If passed, H.R. 3828 would protect members of the Armed Forces who hold religious or moral convictions concerning “the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality” from discrimination or punishment for their beliefs.

The bill seeks to protect chaplains from being ordered to perform any services or ceremonies contrary to their faith, while preventing any same-sex marriage ceremonies from being performed on military posts, in accordance with the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The bill is awaiting action in both the House and the Senate.

Read the results of a poll of service members who said DADT should not be repealed.

Read H.R. 3828.